The differences between a Conservationist and an Eco-Activist

Wildlife management is never an easy task, especially if you include human emotion into the mix.  Not all humans who profess a deep love of nature are supportive of effective Science-Based Conservation and wildlife management.

Membership Matters. Support those who support Science Based Conservation

It comes as no surprise that we find ourselves in yet another rip-roaring battle between Environmental Activist organizations and, well, the rest of the population who doesn’t agree with them.   It doesn’t matter if you are someone with a job in the forestry, mining or oilfield industry.  It doesn’t matter if you are a hunter, heliskier, snowshoer, or snowmobiler.  You are wrong, “because they said so”.  With very little science backing their propaganda, Eco-Activists now have exactly the Crisis they need to get back in the spotlight again.  The Mountain Caribou Populations in British Columbia are now a convenient vehicle for land grabs and closures.

In the name of “conservation,” eco-activists rally together, but are they really conservationists when facts are disregarded, then replaced by personal opinions and agendas?  When they are bought and paid for from Foreign funding with the sole purpose of Crippling the Canadian Economy and land locking oil, do they really deserve a voice at the table as a stakeholder? When they prevent effective conservation initiatives including predator management, why do they even deserve to be associated with conservation?

Let’s make this clear. You can be a Hunter, Vegan, Snowmobiler, Logger or Yoga Teacher and be a powerful conservationist. This isn’t about diet, hobbies, or occupation. Many of us overlap in ideologies and that is perfect for the diverse issues conservation initiatives face.

The difference between Eco-Activists and Conservationists in My Opinion are as follows.

  1. Conservationists care about long-term science-based solutions and compromise while the Eco-activists focus on “winning” stopping and blocking.
  2. Conservationists try to understand all aspects of the process even when they may not personally agree.  Science is Science. Eco-Activists will disregard any process that doesn’t align with their personal opinion, even when science proves they are incorrect. They have a heck of a lot of funding to purchase biologist opinions with.
  3. Conservationists understand that all aspects of conservation may not be pretty or self fulfilling but continue to work towards a viable solution.  With Eco-Activism, there is no compromise or consideration for anything other than their personal agenda. WE are right YOU are wrong.
  4. Conservationists seek clarity and relationships with those who may have differing views, in hope of a deeper understanding and productive initiatives.  Eco-Activists demand cookie cutter belief systems that align with their agenda without waiver. If you disagree with their views you are wrong.
  5. Conservationists seek cooperation and unity, while Eco-Activists revel in a divide and conquer type of manipulation within the conservation process. 
  6. Conservationists thrive when given the time and opportunity to develop a plan of action that works for the long term.  Fair public Consultation and the ability to be a part of the process is what they ask. Eco-Activists are crises based and driven.  They revel in the attention gained when environmental issues are in their most dire position and enjoy backroom meetings and deal making to achieve their goals.
  7. Conservationists believe that hunting is a vital aspect of conservation.  They understand that balancing carrying capacities of wildlife creates healthier wildlife populations. This includes predator management. Eco-Activists, are against hunting, in fact will spend hours trolling hunting sites, to damn those evil doers.  Death threats against hunters who do not “value life” are common.  Ironic isn’t it?
  8. Conservationists abide by the law, even when they may not personally agree with it, while Eco-Activists have no problem breaking the law if it doesn’t align with their personal agenda. They are, in their own minds, morally and intellectually superior. Therefore above the law. 
  9. Conservationists do not pic favorites when it comes to wildlife management efforts, while Eco-Activists have no problem throwing one species under the bus for another if it feels good. Single Species management is common, for it instigates deeper feelings from the general public. It’s easier to brainwash people when you tug at the heartstrings. Quite often the consequences of single species management are brushed under the rug.  On that note, did you know that Grizzly Bears and Wolves eat Caribou calves?  Shocker I’m sure.
  10. Conservationists really do not care what uneducated celebrities have to say about wildlife management issues.  They’re movie stars and singers not wildlife biologists or botanists for heaven’s sake.  Eco-Activists somehow figure the wrecking balls, DiCaprio’s and the Fondas of the world are elevated in understanding because they are superstar celebrities.  I don’t get it.  Is Miley Cyrus and her wrecking ball the cause of hyper sexualization in today’s youth or is she the voice of the all knowing when it comes to managing wildlife in British Columbia?  Way to use wolves for Personal Gain Miley. (this truly sucks for me because I kind of like her voice)

In closing, I do hope our Federal Government puts themselves in check and decides to leave our beautiful British Columbia alone. Their involvement in our Caribou recovery is absurd at best. Why didn’t they step in and implement SARA with Quebec’s Val-d’Or caribou herd? Caribou recovery too expensive and a lost cause but the following year completely throw the Province of BC into a state of chaos and impending poverty in the name of Caribou Conservation doing the exact opposite?

It’s time for us to unite and work together. We can find a balance and a compromise not only with Caribou Conservation, but in all aspects of Conservation and Land Use. We the People of BC can do this without Federal Government interference. WE live here, and WE are those most impacted.

Some shout outs I’d like to make are as follows:

Kathleen Connoly from Concerned Citizens for Caribou Recovery. Thank you and team CCCR for all of your efforts and standing up for Rural BC and our way of life. #stoptheclosure

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Thank you to the many Hunters and the British Columbia Wildlife Federation for stepping up and saying enough is enough. We are proud to be hunters and proud to stand up for Science Based Conservation. Thank you Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club for bringing the topic of Predator Management to the forefront. It may not be pretty, but Predator Management is a vital part of Science Based Conservation.

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Thank you to the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation for tirelessly working to keep public lands public and not allowing us to be the low hanging fruit any longer.

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A HUGE Thank you to the BC Liberal Caucus especially MLAs like Tom Shypitka, Donna Barnett, Ellis Ross, Mike Bernier, Shirley Bond, John Rustad, Todd Stone, Doug Clovechok, Mike Morris and others for making yourselves available, and fighting for Rural BC.

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Did technology fail or are there other factors to consider with your GPS communication device?

With safety a primary focus for all backcountry users, especially snowmobilers, GPS communication devices such as an InReach, Spot, or Sat-Phones are highly recommended. Although in theory this is excellent practice, user error and other factors can compromise the effectiveness of these electronic devices.

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When dealing with GPS based technology there are very important factors to consider says the creator of the Never Lost Trail Map ap, and owner of Top-line Surveys Ltd. Allan Bouchard.

Sky View: Any GPS unit needs a clear unobstructed view of the sky in order for the satellite signals to be received. An obstruction such as a mountain, canyon, dense forest will not allow for a clear line of site to the satellites needed to relay communication effectively. Bouchard recommends that at least 500 m radius of clear sky view should be present for maximum effectiveness.

Calibration of signal: GPS, which was developed by the American military, uses a network of satellites orbiting more than 2000 km above the earth. GPS devices pick up the signals from these satellites and use them to calculate their position. Satellites are in constant motion and in any given 2 hour time frame multiple satellites may rise and set over the horizon. If you are looking to initiate communication from an InReach or SPOT device, allow for at least 15 minutes of unobstructed sky view for your unit to calibrate. Satellite signals are typically south facing, so allowing for the unit to be pointed in a south facing direction will facilitate the effectiveness of the unit.

Solar Flares: While the average individual will notice very little if any effect on their daily lives when a solar flare occurs, engineers and those who work with electronics will notice disruptions. When magnetic energy builds up in the sun’s atmosphere and needs to be released, the result is an enormous explosion of radiation sending blasts of tiny charged particles streaming into space. Devices that are GPS reliant will notice communication disruptions, for the satellite signal is not coming through a consistent atmosphere. The same disruption occurs with Northern Lights, which are also a solar flare event. It is important to understand the effects of Solar Flares on your GPS communication device and to always have a Plan B for backup.

Plan B: It is always important to have a pre-trip plan including where you are going, number in your party and estimated time of return left with a friend or family not on your adventure. Should you be stranded, they will have accurate information to provide Search and Rescue crews with, facilitating your safe return. Multiple communication devices are recommended, which includes multiple InReach, or SPOT communicators in your group. GPS units can become damaged over time, or as we have discussed human error could prevent a unit from being effective. Multiple communication units could mean the difference between being stranded or rescued.

Damage: Any electronic technology can become worn out or damaged over time. Always provide a secure place for your GPS Communication unit such as a secure carrying case not floating around in a backpack. The vibration alone could compromise the antennae or electronic components rendering the unit useless. Test your unit to insure integrity, and store in a safe location when out in the backcountry.

Be responsible: While there are many stories of the misuse of a Spot or InReach including users initiating an SOS to report a travel-mates snoring, water tasting salty, and other ridiculous situations, there are also real safety concerns to address. Search and Rescue volunteers will be coming out to help you, but this by no means means it’s an instant beaming up and out of your predicament. Be sure to pack anything you need to survive a night out in the backcountry including extra layers, hydration and medications you may need for health and wellness. The ability to start a fire is critical not only for survival but to signal for help. Pack multiple fire starting options to ensure a functional fire. More on what to pack

New Riders: If you are a new rider, or visiting an area unfamiliar with you please hire a guide to insure you are riding within your capabilities. Do not follow tracks and assume it is safe. The Never Lost Trail Maps ap is an excellent resource which not only helps you navigate trail systems, the ap also provides ATES terrain ratings and other valuable navigation suggestions to help you ride within your skill set. Never Lost Trail Maps will also provide you real time navigation, allowing you navigate trails and showcasing potential lifesaving warm up shelters. The ap was created out of Bouchard’s frustration realizing some individuals died from exposure merely 100m from a cabin.

Do not wait till the last minute: If you find yourself in a situation where you must call for help do not wait until the end of the day to do so. Safety is a key concern for everyone including SAR volunteers. Darkness especially during times of high avalanche cycles could prevent a speedy extraction.

To find Never Lost Trail maps, it is available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store

When Disaster strikes the UP it’s Snowmobilers to the rescue!

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is an outdoor destination for many adventurous tourists. The multitude of trails provides endless snowmobiling, skiing, mountain biking and hiking opportunities bringing a much-needed boost to the local economy. Some say, without those tourism dollars, many of the smaller towns in the UP would fail to exist.

http://www.upsnowmobiling.com/

Flash Flooding in June and July of 2018 left these trails in a complete state of disaster, with an estimated 21 million dollars in damage. Several of the trails have been shut down resulting in a huge economic blow to the area for the many businesses that rely upon tourism dollars especially in the winter months.

Matt Virtanen, a Snowmobiler from Oshkosh Wisconson enjoys riding the UP, and after hearing of the devastating loss knew he had to try to make a difference. “It is horrible. Bridges were washed out and massive sinkholes 30 to 40 feet deep in some spots are all that is left of many of our trails”.

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Event organizer Matt Virtanen

The State of Michigan will be covering 75% of the 21 million dollars needed to rebuild the trail infrastructure, with the remainder coming from outside sources. Virtanen decided to organize a fundraiser and began rallying the snowmobile troops into action!

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Virtanen was overwhelmed by the generosity and passion by those who eagerly reached out to support their efforts. Donations began to flood in, some from 300 miles away, with riders and businesses eager to help in any way they could.

Polaris Ambassador Tonya Nelson heard about the efforts to rebuild the UP Trails and knew she needed to help. “I fell in love with the UP 3 years ago. It is such a gorgeous area to ride and the residents are so warm and welcoming to snowmobilers.” Nelson explains. Helping to spread word of the fundraiser, and gather donations, she was elated when Polaris Snowmobiles reached out to support the fundraiser, donating prizes to be raffled.

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Polaris Snow Ambassador Tonya Nelson jumped in to support the UP Trail Fundraiser

The event will be held January 26th, 2019 and begins with a backcountry guided ride. There are 22 people registered for the six-hour ride that meanders through the UP. “we had to cap the ride at 22 people for safety reasons, which quickly filled up. The response was awesome” shared Virtanen. “Snowmobilers are awesome people!”.

Individuals must be 21 to participate in the evening event held at The Range Lounge in South Range Michigan. There will be live music, and endless opportunities to win one of the many prizes donated by event supporters. “There are helmets, gear bags, shovels, goggles, T-shirts, vacation packages and so much more up for grabs” Shared Nelson and all proceeds go to the Portage Health Foundation, the distributor of trail repair funds.

Matt Virtanen would like to thank all of the hard working volunteers and supporters of this fundraiser.

For more information on the event, and a complete list of sponsors, you can visit the Event Page https://www.facebook.com/events/2103637226551655/

And Follow the iRide906 group at iRide906

“Portage Health Foundation would like to thank Matt for putting this together. The Portage Health Foundation is privileged to be working with everyone and just had an update from the MDNR. If you would like to make a donation to the trail recovery effort and can’t attend the event, please visit http://www.phfgive.org/about-flood-relief.php. Simply follow the directions and put Flood/Trails in the comments section so we can properly record your donation”


Polaris Snow
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Shut your PIE HOLE … honey

Riding with your significant other can be awesome, but challenging at times, especially if you are a newbie. So many emotions and pattern behaviour from everyday life can seep into what should be fun recreation time, that both partners are left feeling frustrated.

I have a solution! Shut your pie hole, eloquently translates to can you please stop speaking to me at this moment, for I can see it will not facilitate the situation I have found myself in. If you add the word honey after it makes it sound loving, in an assertive kind of way.

What situations are conducive to shutting one’s pie hole you might ask?

Stupid stucks. We all make them from time to time, and the moment we can feel that loss of rpm and our track dig in we realize our stupid mistake. It absolutely doesn’t help when another rider comes by to state the obvious, especially if it is your significant other. If he starts razzing your arse it may be time to bust out the “Shut your pie hole honey”.

Fear. Everyone has different risk tolerance levels, and new riders have the cards stacked against them as they are bombarded by the unknown perpetually throughout the day. It is completely logical to fear the unknown. If your partner starts making fun of your very real fears, minimizing them into something ridiculous and mocking, it is absolutely time to bust out the “Shut your pie hole honey”, for no one but you understands your level of comfort in a situation, nor do they have the right to define your own personal emotions.

I recently received a call from a woman who was learning on a brand new chassis. Rather than allowing her the luxury of getting used to her sled in simple terrain, her husband chose a more aggressive ride, talking down to her as she struggled to find her legs. Everyone needs time to get used to a new chassis, no matter how long they have been riding, or if they are a man or woman. If your partner isn’t giving you that time to get used to your chassis.. you will need to take charge, perhaps find different riding companions, and most certainly tell him to “Shut his pie hole, honey”.

“Trish why did you hit that tree and break an A arm!!!!! Those things are expensive!!! You should have turned out sooner!! Way to wreck your sled”…Oh yup my hackles go up with this one. You know what? I woke up in the morning and set my goal for the day. It was to nail the largest conifer in the forest and break an A-arm so I could spend my hard earned dollars on a part I ruined leaving me zero fun money for Sleeman Honey Browns. Seriously no one wants to intentionally wreck their sled, but it’s all a part of learning and pushing your skills and boundaries. Sometimes Schizzle happens, and it happens to everyone. Don’t take any Schizzle ladies! Simply look him straight in the eyes, laugh and announce “Shut your pie hole honey for it’s all a part of snowmobiling”

On a recent thread on the Throttle Chix facebook page a lady rider shared her frustration with being over instructed when it wasn’t necessary. Sometimes women need to see their own lines, rather than hearing the incessant drone of “follow my line and go around the blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.. blah blah blah blah”.. yup Kev and I go through this once in a while.. If I ask for instruction, bring it, but if I don’t please let me try to figure it out in my mind. I am one that has to see a line in my mind before I will attempt it. I sometimes see a route that he didn’t or see a line that is more conducive to my skill set. Kev has mad skills, mine would be described as “a little bit cranky-skills” compared to his Mad skills. Let me figure it out even if I fail. If he continues to micro-manage me I absolutely will tell him to “shut his pie hole, honey”.

Below is proof that if I have any questions, I will ask. Meteor Mine Hillclimb Race 2014, I was asking everyone for advice. “You want me to climb that?!!” was my initial response looking at the course and the chute to top out at.

Keeping it light and fun during the learning stage of snowmobiling is imperative. There are going to be days that challenge you to the point you consider hanging up that helmet but don’t. It’s all a part of snowmobiling, and everyone feels that same frustration while learning. Laugh at yourself, and try not to take minor setbacks personally. We, women, are emotional creatures, and if we let ourselves go down the negative, self-loathing rabbit hole, it can be near impossible to climb out. This is why it is beneficial to have other female riding buddies who’ll absolutely understand your mindset.

Our Cycle Works Riding clinics were developed specifically for this reason. Women think different, ride different and react differently to a variety of situations and will learn better from other women riders in an environment where they feel supported and safe.

Women helping women. PC Boosted Imagery.

All in all, we are very lucky to have dudes that want us out there riding with them, rather than staying home in the kitchen without socks on. We have a wonderful opportunity to create lasting memories with epic adventures out there in the backcountry. It is so much fun to be treated like one of the guys riding with our crew and truly heart melting to see the look of pride on Kev’s face when I pull off a new skill or techy line. I seriously love and cherish my Snow Stud, and get even more twitterpated watching the ridiculously techy lines he makes look so elementary.

Dear lord I lucked out in the Sexy Department with my wonderful Snow Stud

Men, if you’re reading this, you are REALLY really REALLY fortunate to have a woman who wants to get out there and ride. No more questions of what to do on a Sunday, for the both of you know you’ll be heading out and busting up some freshies. When you feel frustration creep in, perhaps rather than doing any of the above irritating traits we’ve discussed, give her a huge hug, tell her you are proud of her, and then promptly “Shut your pie hole…….. honey”.

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Tim, Tim! He’s your man!! He’ll sell you an epic sled, and a GGB trail Can! https://www.cycleworksacheson.com/

The little things….Breaking in 850 Patriot Chuck Norris 2

My heart filled with love as I looked at him and all of his sexiness. “How lucky am I?” I thought to myself. To think a 47 year old redneck/hippie kind of woman landed such a magnificent beast to spend time with. While I love my super sexy snow stud husband, the sexy beast I speak of is my Cycle Works West 2019 850 Polaris Patriot 163 2.6.

It was Christmas day, and my husband Kev and I were out breaking in my new Polaris 850 Patriot. The snow-pack was still pretty skinny so a road ride was all that was safe at the time.

Waking up in the morning I felt an excitement in me that I hadn’t felt in such a long time. The feeling was so strong, 4:45am was all that my mind and body would allow for sleep. I had found my “WOO HOOOO NESS” again. Seriously Kev… wake up.. lets go!

Jumping back on to the Patriot felt so natural. I was lucky to have ridden prototypes with Polaris Corporate in Montana last February. Never have I been on a sled that I instantly felt at home and one with to this extent. So responsive to every shift of my body weight, a snowmobile this epic had to have an outstanding name. You do notice the lack of vibration after riding a full day on a Patriot. Less muscle fatigue is a wonderful plus.

Test riding the 2019 Polaris 850 Patriot in February 2018… pinch me.

My initial testing of 850 Patriot Prototypes in Februrary of 2018 was a little fuzzy. While it was an incredible blessing to be invited to test out these new sleds with a crew of elite epic and awesome snowmobilers in the industry I was incredibly ill at the time. Running a fever of a hundred and whatever, combined with Pneumonia, ridiculously high blood pressure and dash of altitude sickness, I was determined to get out there and try the Patriot out. “Trish how are you feeling?” Phatty asked continually (Thank you my friend for looking out for me) “Awesome” I’d reply in a laryngitis filled voice that resembled a cross between a Demon and Bull Frog. (Oh ya, I totally rode like a toad out there too during testing) Good times. Would the Patriot still be as epic as I remembered?

The day I arrived home from my incredible adventure. Sexy ya?

Although I had already dubbed my previous 2011 Polaris Pro RMK 800 Chuck Norris, the mind-blowing qualities of this snowmobile could only be best explained by that same name. Chuck Norris 2… my wonderful Chuck was back, stronger, lighter, faster and better than ever!

Kev was breaking in our friend’s 850 Patriot as well. Asking his input, I was truly dreading and bracing myself for his response. Yup, it knocked his socks off too, even during break-in. Not only did he LOVE the agility and the extra linear power of the 850 Patriot, judging by the look on his face I could see he would have a hard time jumping back onto his 16 Axys 800 and was already devising a plan to get his own Chuck Norris (Laura Croft??). It really is that big of a difference from the previous generation of Axys snowmobiles. The differences are so monumental that there are simply no words to fully explain. You must ride an 850 Patriot to truly get it.

If you’re riding a Patriot for the first time, be prepared to initially over- ride the sled. It requires less input than even the super agile Axys so your first hour could feel a little squirley until you get in the groove. I watched Kevs tracks go into the rhubarb a couple times during the first few kms of riding the super responsive chassis. It feels a little snow bike-ish but with 2 skis.

The running boards definitely have a sweet spot. Find that spot, and get a feel for the subtle shift of weight required for the sled to respond. Shifting your weight from side to side while travelling up the access trail will give you a good feel for the balance point. Use this time to become one with the feel for the throttle, and geometry.

When breaking in your 850 Patriot it’s important to give ‘er a little mustard while getting those first few miles on it. Slowly putting around will result in fouled plugs, so a little mustard will go a long way but not WOT, which could compromise an effective break-in. Your quick-drive belt will also need a little bit of breaking in, so transitioning in and out of the throttle on your initial break-in ride will allow the cogs on the belt to be worked in properly, preserving its integrity. Read more about Polaris Break in procedures here https://snowmobiles.polaris.com/en-us/self-help/article/KA-01150/

I had chosen a 174″ track length for my 17, and 18 Polaris Axys sleds which absolutely served their purpose. I wanted to become a little more skilled in the trees and gain some confidence in more techy terrain, so the 174 gave me the extra grace, flotation and traction to “get lucky” more often than not when schizzle was hitting the fan. Yes it was a long sled, with a 3″ track, but I did enjoy it. I could already sense, however, my transition down to a 163 2.6 was a good move with the Patriot. More agile, and less fighting with the 3″ track on harder packed snow was going to be fun! I am excited to really bust Chuck out when we get a little more snow to cover up some of the exposed landmines off the trail.

All in all, I can’t think of a better Christmas day to have. I am blessed that my husband is one who wants to ride during the holidays and truly blessed that we were able to spend Christmas Day aboard two spectacular Polaris 850 Patriots. If you don’t have an 850 Patriot… try one! You know you want to!

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Looking for a new unit? Give my Brother from another Mother a call! Tim’s the man!

The Awesome Side of Snowmobiling

How many times have you been hesitant to bring up the fact that you are a snowmobiler when socializing with a new group of people? Saying nothing for fear of backlash and judgement directed your way?  Our sport is often misunderstood and the scapegoat of many an agenda.  Well, let’s turn that frown upside down and celebrate some of the positive aspects of our sport. 

Snowmobiling isn’t just the good old boys club.  Snowmobiling is a family activity, with an unprecedented amount of women joining the sport over the past decade.  Hard core women riders and racers have inspired a huge surge in female involvement and the industry has taken note.  Manufacturers and gear companies recognize this important demographic and realize that promoting women in the sport is a sound plan of action.  Women are more independent than ever before owning, maintaining and transporting themselves and their machines to destinations including riding clinics and events. In a household what mom says goes.  If Mom says it’s time to ride, get your gear and get ready!  It’s time to go make lasting memories. 

 

Snowmobiling is good for you!  Preliminary findings from a study conducted by the University of Guelph confirm what many already know. Snowmobiling is hard work that builds and tones muscles, especially core muscles.  Snowmobiling makes you feel good mentally and emotionally too!

In the study, Metabolic equivalent (MET) were measured based upon aerobic demands.  Resting would be the starting point at zero and activities are rated from there.  Riding a groomed trail has a MET of almost four, while mountain riding scored an impressive seven.  Moderate intensity activities range between 3-6 METs.. yes.. you read that right.  Mountain riding is a whopping seven, so take that!  Those of you who figure snowmobilers are fat and lazy schmucks who just sit on a machine all day you’ve just been schooled.  Further scientific evidence indicates that snowmobiling provides a mental-emotional pick me up of exercise, combined with getting above that mid-winter fog to absorb vitamin D which would explain the smiles on many a snowmobiler’s face.  

Read more here

 

The sound of a snowmobile in the backcountry isn’t as sinister as some may think  (not including the DIY aftermarket exhaust systems that are designed to make tympanic membranes bleed).  Snowmobile sound levels have been decreased by 94% with an active campaign ongoing to encourage respectful exhaust sound output. While some relish every opportunity to point the finger at motorized recreation,  research indicates that animals will habituate to the sound of an engine, thus reducing the effects of a startle, defensive response.   The silent descent or approach from a human either on foot ski or board is perceived as a predator or potential threat which initiates an elevated stress response in the animals.  We can take a more in depth look here 

 

Sledders care about wildlife. Snowmobile clubs and organizations have developed a sound protocol to minimize stress on wildlife riders may encounter when enjoying the backcountry.  Be it a moose, caribou or elk on the trail, riders are encouraged to stop and allow the animal sufficient time to move on peacefully or they can turn around and take another route to avoid the animals altogether.  Our crew usually takes this opportunity to stop and have a bite to eat, let our belts cool off and tap er cool, to give the animals time to move on. It’s easy to take note of fresh tracks on the trail, so riders be aware and respectful of all of the wild animals in the area when out poppin pillows. Read more here

 

Snowmobiling is a zero impact sport on terrain and habitat.  We do not erode soil.  We do not spread invasive plants.  We do not permanently alter habitat.  When the snow melts, so do our tracks.   Read more in the link below. 

OBJECT                                        LBS/SQUARE INCH OF PRESSURE

4X4 Vehicle                                       30

Horse                                                  8

Human Hiking                                  5

ATV/ORV                                            1.5

Snowmobile                                      0.5

http://www.snowmobilers.org/docs/ACSA_Facts_and_Myths_book.pdf

 

Snowmobiling contributes billions of dollars to the economy.  This is a fact, in excess of 26 billion dollars in the USA alone.  In British Columbia,  snowmobiling provides a huge boost to many rural towns especially those who are reliant upon tourism for their economic stability.

Preliminary estimates indicate that snowmobiling brings in at least 400 million dollars to the province.  While this number is impressive, the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation recognizes that this number is low, prompting an economic impact study effort to clearly depict the economic boost snowmobiling lends to the province of British Columbia. 

Snowmobilers give back. Many non profit organizations, and conservation efforts are funded by the efforts of organized snowmobiling.  The Easter Seals campaign is one organization that has received a generous donation yearly from clubs who host Snoarama events in Canada. 

Since 1978 British Columbia snowmobilers have raised over 3.8 million dollars to support the Easter Seals Campaign.  Polaris Snowmobiles supports Pink Ribbon Riders not for profit organization, in their efforts to provide financial assistance to those living with breast cancer.  You’ll find your local snowmobile club active and engaged in your town’s happenings, eager to reach out and lend a helping hand. 

 

Snowmobilers and Skiers do get along.  There isn’t the tension and animosity that existed a decade ago.  Through the years, a mutual respect has been established, with many skiers embracing snowmobiles for backcountry access. Several Snowmobile clubs groom multi-use trail systems lending backcountry access to a variety of users from skiers and snowshoers, to hikers and bikers.  Our local Creston BC club continues to fund and maintain trails and cabins in the Kootenay Pass, with an open door policy for all users.  We all can and do get along.

Snowmobile tourism directly supports local economic viability. Winter isn’t a time to shut down shop, for snowmobilers are known for their spending at restaurants, local stores, and hotels.  We Stay, Play, and Pay, unlike some other winter recreation opportunities that isolate tourists to a remote location such as a lodge or resort where meals and lodging are included.  Great for the tour operators who stock up at Costco in bulk for their food and beverage needs, but not so great for the local economy as many business owners in towns such as Blue River and McBride have experienced . 

Next time you see an out of town plate with sleds on the deck, perhaps give them a little wave. For every dollar spent, it circulates 10x throughout your town.  

 

 

Cycle Works West Ladies Clinic brings many eager riders from across Canada and the United States to the town of Valemount British Columbia each season.  

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https://www.fxrracing.com/snow.html

The raccoons that melted my heart

 

I received a message late in the evening on Friday night.  A local resident had been observing four Raccoon kits huddled together, trying to keep warm on the shoulder of a road.  Trying to do the right thing, and let nature take its course she didn’t immediately intervene, but on the third day, she realized the mother raccoon wasn’t coming back to her kits.  Reluctantly I agreed to take them in.

Taking raccoons in is a very dangerous prospect.  Even though these youngsters were only about 4 weeks old, the potential for disease was strong.  Round worm, which can cause a plethora of illness for both humans and animals including dogs.  Leptospirosis and Salmonella, which again can be transferred to humans and other animals causing severe sickness and possibly death.  Let us not also forget Rabies.

Many fantasize about owning a pet raccoon, but in reality not only is it dangerous for humans and pets, it is a horrible life for a raccoon to be living in captivity.  They will become destructive and never truly domesticate, for their wild nature will always dominate.

Reluctantly I agreed.  Wait what?  Trish “I believe in science” conservation girl taking in raccoons?  Knowing the dangers of harboring raccoons, I felt more comfortable with the kits in my possession rather than a resident who may not understand the potential for disease transfer.

They arrived starving and severely dehydrated.  Their eyes were crusted over with dirt and goop.  Looking at them, I had little hope of their survival.  What do I do?  Euthanize them?  Surely there are enough raccoons on the planet that these four wouldn’t make a difference.  Raccoons that are populating urban areas causing the spread of disease and killing family pets such as cats, rabbits, and even chickens.  This would make the most sense scientifically speaking, but looking at the little mass of huddled kits in the box I decided to give them a shot.

My first call was to the Conservation Officer’s Service of British Columbia.  It is illegal to be in possession of wildlife.  After receiving the go-ahead I contacted a rescue facility about two hours away to see if she could take them in.  Many rescues will not take these walking petrie dishes of destruction, so I had my fingers crossed.  If she couldn’t take them, I would have no choice but to have them destroyed.  Thankfully the facility had room, and agreed to take them.

It was a long first night of hydrating this motely crew every couple hours.  At first they would snarl and try to bite me through the welding gloves I used to help restrain them.  They were weak, but still very capable of inflicting a bite with their little teeth that had recently errupted.  Using formula I had in the cupboard left over from a friend, I gently used a syringe to feed them being careful to not aspirate their lungs with fluid.

After the third feeding they started to realize that it wasn’t such a bad thing to be held by that hairless giant, and eagerly embraced feeding time.

It was kind of a whirlwind for me, with a lack of sleep, I was running on fumes, and lost all track of time.  The telephone rang, and the voice on the other end was that of my coworker reminding me that I was late for work.  I’m never late!!!  Crap!  I explained something about having a raccoon on my lap and would be there in five minutes confusing poor Jo on the other end.  Did Trish seriously say she had a raccoon on her lap  making her late for work?

My family was a godsend and took over feeding the “creatures” as we called them.  The kids knew the risks and took precautions for their safety.

When I’d finished my shift at work, I literally sprinted home to my little “creatures”.

My little creatures needed triage.  They had been isolated to one room, for fear of ticks and fleas and worms infesting our family and home.  I took them out into our living room for the next feeding, spreading out a blanket on the floor.  They were pretty content to huddle together in the corner.

At this point, all they had had was hydration in the form of baby formula, but already you could see some life in their eyes.  No longer sunken in so deeply, their little eyes started to sparkle.  Upon the recommendation of our local vet, I introduced “the creatures” to soft cat food mixed with formula.  It was a hit!  Like gluttons, they dove in and devoured that first feeding.

We have a cat named bloop, after the sound he makes.  Bllloooooooooppp we called after he shot us a look of disgust at the vile creatures in our living room.  The sound is made by rolling your tongue and kind of singing the sound.  This sound, the bloop noise, is apparently Raccoon language, for they immediately responded by calling back and running straight at me.  Oh, how I feared for my toes that were dangerously exposed to their sharp little teeth.

“of course you speak Raccoon” my friend Lindsay laughed.  Ranger Trish to the rescue

They began to have personalities, prompting me to name them, which is yet another rule I broke if you are committed to science-based conservation.  No human names, only numbers for they are wild animals, not pets.  Ya, I fell off the wagon pretty hard.

Lucifer was the largest and most aggressive.  I was graced with the scent from his anal glands the first night as he expressed them in anger and fear when we tried the first feeding.  Lucifer, while still grumpy was now ok with being fed.  He hated getting his face cleaned, however making it very interesting during triage time.

Gollum was about the same size as Lucifer, but a little less assertive with his teeth.  He would dive into the food bowl, face first with his arms wrapped around the sides, using his back feet to push the bowl around the room preventing his siblings from eating.

Creepy Eyes was showing the most signs of malnutrition and dehydration.  I still was concerned for his welfare, but like the others, he dove in and fed like a champ when Gollumn or Lucifer were not around the food bowl.

Consuela, my little sweet Consuela was so sweet, and content to be by my side at all times.  She’d crawl up onto my lap, and after about the 92 time she crawled up I let her cuddle in.  She took a beating constantly from her siblings, with Lucifer latching onto her face, ears, and feet at any given moment.  It really wasn’t too hard to handle having a raccoon snuggled into your ear.  Man she was cute.

raccoon 5

Seriously how could you not love them?

This is only temporary my husband reminded me.  Don’t get attached.  It had been planned that once our new Conservation Officer arrived back in town, he was going to deliver them to the animal rescue facility, but I have to admit, I began dragging my feet.  I hadn’t heard from him, but I didn’t really try too hard.  I had been infected not by Leptospirosis, roundworms, rabies fleas or salmonella.  I was infected with warm fuzzies.

Never did I want to have a raccoon for a pet, for I knew the consequences to both humans and animals, I was just really enjoying my time of being a mom.  They’d follow me around the yard, blooping at me as I blooped at them.  We’d chill out after bathtime, drying off and watching movies together as they dried.  My husband kind of shook his head in dismay when he saw me on the couch with four raccoons, two chocolate labs, a wolf cross and 2 cats watching Netflix.

raccoon 6

Movie night with Pedro and “the creatures”

It was time for an intervention he decided.  While I was at work he tracked down the conservation officer to come and grab the little trash pandas.  I could no longer be trusted to make science-based decisions, and those raccoons needed to go before I fell deeper in love.  I dashed into the house from work, expecting to resume my raccoon routine I found an empty room.  They were gone.  While I was incredibly sad it truly was the right thing to do.  They needed to go to rehab.  It was best for them and probably me.  I really was turning into the crazy raccoon lady, sending a multitude of pics and videos to my friends and family.  It was time.

Those who believe in Science-Based conservation are not heartless monsters.  We do have hearts, probably larger than most anticipate.  We want whats best for wildlife and humankind, executing tough decisions from time to time that may not feel good.

While there is a time and place for compassion, let’s keep our eyes and minds open when it comes to all that is conservation to help forge a better balance and future for wildlife and the backcountry habitat we all enjoy.  Special thank you to the Creston Valley Veterinary Hospital, Helen Jameson and her rescue facility, Conservation Officer’s service, and Sitina Bredy, the resident who surrendered these kits giving them a new lease on life.

Most of the time wildlife is not in need of rescuing.  Many humans intervene causing more harm.  For the rare times it is necessary be sure to abide by the law and let professionals do the rescuing safely and ethically.  Wild Animals should never be kept as pets.  Keep wildlife in the wild, please. 

 

 

Ride like a girl… it’s a compliment

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10 steps to prevent Pow Stoke Infection

It looks like the drought is over! In the Kootenay Boundary/Purcell forecast zone we live in, snow has been dumping like a Christmas gift from above, bringing much excitement for many snowmobilers, skiers and other back country users.  Several BC riding areas are experiencing the same types of conditions. Heavy snowfalls, weak layers underneath causing very unstable condition. With fresh powder excitement. visions of epic face shots, and deep powder turns fill our every thought.  With excitement comes the potential for human error.

Pow Stoke, is a human condition where the excitement of fresh powder overrides one’s ability to make safe, wise choices.  Perhaps you’ve been experiencing drought like conditions, as we’ve been seeing in the Kootenay Boundary/Purcell forecast zone.  Maybe you have taken time off from work, where you have made specific plans for heading out with your buddies come hell or high water.  I’ve seen many customers in our Kootenay Speed Shop this week, excited to head out on their maiden voyage on their brand new machine.  Pow stoke can hit mid ride, when individuals find themselves in an unexpected holy grail of a freshie zone.  Excitement is a good thing, but not at the expense of proper decision making.

Step 1.  Admit that you have a problem.  We all could fall prey to pow stoke, no matter our avalanche education, or preparedness.  It hits hard and fast usually undetected.  Keep your Brain on when enjoying the winter back country.

Step 2.  Check the forecast on http://www.avalanche.ca .  Dissect the forecast paying special attention to problems in your ride zone, details and min reports. Avalanche Canada

Step 3.  Make a plan A with your group, a plan b and even a plan c.  Discuss the conditions and potential hazards ensuring everyone is on the same page. Here’s a handy trip planning check list which is found on Avalanche Canada’s website under resources.  Trip Planning Checklist   

Step 4.  Prepare for your ride, ensuring you have all your gear packed, fluids topped up, batteries charged up for your communication and gps devices the night before allowing you a peaceful start to your ride day the next morning.  Essential Gear

Step 5.  Head out for the day!  At the trail head, do a transceiver check to make sure everyone is not only wearing their gear but that it is fully functional.  Designate a lead and a tail, with the tail making sure the group stays together, and no one is left behind. Here is an awesome video on transceivers and how to perform a transceiver check at the trail head from our friends at Backcountry Access.

Step 6.  The rule of one.. One person at a time on a slope, and one person at a time crossing a potential avalanche path.  This is especially important if your riding buddy is stuck on a hill.  Give them time, and watch them from a safe distance out of the slide path, but avoid an intervention which could trigger an avalanche on top of your stuck buddy.

Step 7.  Observe the snow pack around you making note of changing conditions in some of the micro zones you ride.  Take pictures of the snow pack and conditions which you will use for your MIN report.  Be prepared to alter your route if you notice unstable conditions while you are out enjoying the day.

Step 8.  Keep the lines of communication open throughout your day, discussing snow pack and potential ride routes.  If you notice unsafe behavior within your group or those from another group use your words.  Sure, they may call you the safety police or fun police, mock, laugh, and dismiss your advice (I’ve been there many times before), but there is always a chance you could prevent a fatality.  It’s worth it to use your words.

Step 9.  Head out back to staging with plenty of daylight at your disposal.  The end of day mishaps that can occur are much easier to manage in daylight.

Step 10.  When you arrive home, while information is fresh in your mind, create a min report.  The Mountain Information Network is easy to use as there are some quick report features that make it user friendly for all.  Here is a link to get you started.  Mountain Information Network (MIN) 

Chillax and unwind with your friends and loved ones who are thankful you’ve returned home from another wonderful day out in the mountainous back country! Have a great and safe season everyone!  Much love!

 

Debunking feel-good conservation: A tragic Mountain Caribou recovery story

With more land closures being implemented, many stakeholders working on the Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan including snowmobilers, are fed up with feel good politics dictating the future of many British Columbian Towns.  Industry, recreation, and other species of animals feel the brunt of feel good politics that reject  science based conservation in favor of feel-good conservation, and warm fuzzy politics.

Maternity Pens

What a wonderful warm fuzzy feel good initiative.  Or is it?  “How do you capture a female caribou? First of all, you chase her with a helicopter in the open, get a net over it. Then you tranquillize it with tranquilizers that we don’t know the full side effects of,” said Pettitt, a quote from CBC article  September 02 2015

Considered a failure from a scientific standpoint, many cheered the success, and efforts of volunteers managing the maternity pen project.  Media celebrated these caring volunteers with a multitude of heart warming stories.

True facts need to be acknowledged however.  It is truly unknown if maternity pens are actually successful in caribou recovery what is certain is the fact that many animals die from this feel good initiative.  Cows and Calves experience mortality, some within the maternity pen itself, some upon capture, and some upon release.

We have between 8 and 11 Caribou up the Kootenay pass. Many attempts at saving this herd through land closures, and transplants have proved futile. Realistically it stood very little chance of being effective, for 7 recommendations from the progress board in it’s Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan (MCRIP) were greatly ignored.  All seven recommendations had to happen simultaneously in order to be effective, but the optics of predator control seen as cruel prevented continuity.  Too little too late is a common feeling.  Lack of simultaneously implementing the progress board’s recommendations due to optics cratered caribou recovery efforts.

The new MCRIP recommendations are as follows: 

  •  work with Environment and Climate Change Canada to recover caribou on an urgent timeline and ensure BC’s perspectives and needs are met;
     Increase active monitoring of caribou herds to ensure an accurate assessment of herd condition
    and effectiveness of management actions
     Captive breeding that has direct application to mountain caribou
     Fund monitoring and enforcement of recreational and commercial recreation orders in caribou habitat, including un-tenured operators
     Expedite development of herd management plans that consider the full range of management options
     Predator management, prey management, captive breeding, to prevent or reverse herd declines

There is no reccommendation for maternity pen projects. Have you ever wondered what it takes to implement a caribou maternity pen project?

Once upon a time, in the Selkirk Mountains….. (This story will be better appreciated with Pan flute music in the background)very sad feel-good conservation music

Imagine for a moment, you’re enjoying a peaceful day up in the back country with your family. Birds are singing, a bubbling cold water stream is heard near by.  Enjoying a wonderful meal of lichen a sense of foreboding fills you, deep within your soul.

You hear a sound “Thump Thump Thump” approaching.

Suddenly a helicopter appears out of no where chasing you and your family. You all run for your lives.  The helicopter crew is persistent and chase you down until they are close enough to throw a net over you.. Tumbling over and over, caught in net, and completely terrified, panic consumes your mind body and soul. You feel the pain from crashing and tumbling to the ground onto sharp shale rocks, stumps and trees. They approach in a swift and efficient manner.  You are then blind folded, abducted and sent to a concentration camp with others of your kind.

Now imagine for a moment you are pregnant. What could possibly go wrong with terrorizing, brutally capturing and transporting a pregnant mammal?

With no reliable food source in the concentration camp you rely on your captors for food and hydration. You witness some of the others captured die before you. Some from their injuries, some from stress, and some starvation and dehydration.

You really don’t have much of an appetite in this prison like pen. Not only are your captors aware of your every move, you sense predators waiting in the wings. Wolves, cougars, wolverine and grizzly bears are waiting for their opportunity secure sustenance.

Time drags on like an eternity.  Giving birth in the prison camp is stressul and foreign.  Surely this can’t be how will be for your child.  Gone is the security of natural habitat.  One spring morning the prison gates are opened.

“May the odds be ever in your favor” your smug captors say before opening the gates.  You have heard whispers from those captured and held against their will, of wolves entering these Maternity Pens and attacking.  Cougar and Grizzly Bears waiting in the wings. You know there are predators out there waiting. You’ve smelled and sensed them for some time.. but what else can you do but run for your life with your newborn child terrified by your side.  You are lost and scared, completely disoriented.  Where is home, where are my friends?

Wandering aimlessly for weeks, you smell something familiar.  The smell of another who was in the same camp, held against their will  is near by.  That feeling of security and joy is fleeting however, when you realize to your horror, the carcass of one of your friends, and their child half eaten lay frozen in the snow.  The smell of predators is strong.

Time goes on, and the shock of being tortured and held against your will starts to wear off.  You find food, and friends once again.  Life seems to be back on track for you and your growing child approaching maturity.  Calm and peace are felt once more.

Suddenly there is that familiar humming sound in the air. Thump Thump Thump Thump. You’ve heard this sound before.  The helicopter is near.  As it swoops down, you feel the net once more restricting your every movement.  Pain.  So much pain, tumbling over and over until it all goes black and life fades away along with the life if the unborn child within you.

Now that I have explained Maternity Pen reality in a way that could perhaps be understood by warm fuzzy feel gooders, lets take a look at science vs warm fuzzies.

Anthropomorphism.  a mouthful of a word to say and spell for certain.  This was one of the first words I learned when I went to school for my work in Conservation.  To attribute human characteristics to animals, and inanimate objects in an attempt to instigate an emotional response.  Anthropomorphization is a definite no-no when it comes to science based conservation because it clouds perspective and urges emotional reactions and responses.  “Oh that poor mother bear needs to feed her babies, I’ll leave my apples out for them”.  A pretty common statement I hear when out in the field.  My job is to prevent human wildlife conflict.  Human’s have a need to feel important and valued when they feel affection for wildlife.

What do they do?  Intervene, not necessarily for the well-being of the animal, but for their own self fulfillment.  Warm fuzzy feelings have been killing animals for decades if not longer.  A fed bear is a dead bear I explain, for once that bear becomes human food conditioned, that “mother bear and her babies” correctly identified as a sow with cubs will have to be destroyed.  The Conservation officer didn’t kill the bear, the warm fuzzy do gooder did the moment they allowed wild animals to become human food conditioned.

Describing feel good Caribou conservation from an Anthropomorphic perspective in my little story above does initiate an emotional response.  Why would we torture an animal who is considered critically at risk?  Why would we continue to pursue avenues of recovery that have zero impact on populations?  The answer is simply because humans like to feel good.

Facts: 

Lack of success casts doubt on Maternity Pens:  It is unclear if maternity pens actually work.  With conflicting data, cow and calf mortality and marginal survival of animals released the Provincial Progress board voted against a maternity pen for the South Selkirk Mountain Caribou herd.

Viable herd numbers: There are between 8 and 11 Mountain Caribou in the South Selkirk Herd. A viable herd number is considered 35 animals.

Private funding moves Penning Project forward: While a maternity pen was voted against by the Provincial Progress board, private funding from First Nation bands have secured maternity penning on Privately owned Nature Conservancy of Canada land formerly known as Darkwoods.  “Constructing a maternal pen is a lot of work, it costs a lot of money, and there’s no promise that it will actually succeed. No one benefits monetarily from trying to stop the extinction of this herd, but the people fighting for these animals are in it for another reason.  “It’s a matter of the heart,” Merz admits. For the people of the Kootenai tribe and their neighbors, the Kalispel in northeastern Washington, it’s also an issue of cultural identity and survival.”  I see no mention of Science Based Conservation instead “cultural identity”  “Matter of the Heart”… Is this reason enough to justify the torture animals who are already struggling to survive?   read more here 

Before someone accuses me of disrespecting First Nations culture, let it be known that I have a tremendous amount of respect for First Nation’s culture and traditions.  My feelings however, are irrelevant in science based conservation efforts as it should be, as science tells us it should be.

Calf Mortality: Little evidence suggests that the herd up the Salmo Creston Pass has experienced successful calving in some time. With no calves surviving to maturity and three caribou losing their lives to the Highway of Caribou tears in the past two years since the last census,  calculations would tell us that there are eight caribou or less in the South Selkirk Herd.

Viable fertility concerns: It is unclear if the cows in the South Selkirk herd are still fertile. Age may play a huge factor in relationship to fertility.

It is also unclear if there is enough genetic diversity within the herd to actually augment herd numbers.

Habituation: The South Selkirk Herd has become habituated to humans, spending much time at the top of the Kootenay Pass interacting with humans and YRB road maintenance crews.

Vehicle collision based Mortality: Many caribou have lost their lives on the Salmo Creston Pass.  The more they linger around humans and the highway the more likely they are to get into a motor vehicle collision

Climate change:

Climate Change affects caribou habitat: Climate change is an accepted fact in today’s scientific community.  Climate change projects a dismal future for Caribou.  Science tells us that in the very near future, Southern British Columbia will not host viable caribou habitat due to the effects of Climate Change.

Government and the international scientific community have a difficult time agreeing on the definition of Mountain Caribou, so when researching facts, bear in mind, some scientists still consider the Mountain Caribou a Woodland Caribou as is in this situation not separating the eco-types.  “The woodland caribou is already an endangered species in southern Canada and the United States. The warming of the planet means the disappearance of their critical habitat in these regions. Caribou need undisturbed lichen-rich environments and these types of habitats are disappearing,” said Musiani, noting that the study projected how the environment will change by the year 2080.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2013-12-climate-endanger-caribou-habitat.html#jCp

Uneducated superstar activists skew truth and optics:  Not so educated entertainers feed feel good conservation: Feel good conservation is counter productive:  With a variety of special interest groups approaching conservation from a feel good standpoint is there any doubt that this type of effort will always have a negative impact on wildlife populations?

Caribou numbers have, for decades felt the brunt of feel good politics.  Predator management was considered one of the crucial levers to pull simultaneously with other reccommendations such as securing habitat.  Predator management was hampered when high profile scientists like Miley Cyrus get involved encouraging the public to speak against the wolf call.  Oh wait… that’s right she isn’t a scientist, with no formal education in relationship to conservation or biology.  This little wrecking ball of a girl is an entertainer… doesn’t that just make your “skin crawl” in a Jane Fonda like way.  Miley Cyrus on predator management

Feel good politics destroy effective conservation: In a recent ruling, the hunting of Grizzly bears has been Banned in British Columbia by the NDP/Green alliance.  Oh the cheers of “victory” from those who do not understand the important role hunting lends to conservation.  What was hidden from the media was the fact that Guide and outfitters are now forced to fulfill their entire quota that was to span a period of 5 years in one hunting season.  That must have skipped the feel good headlines, along with the fact that in dense populations, boar grizzly bears will kill cubs, so they can breed with a sow that will carry on their genetics.  In the following video you’ll see a Grizzly Boar preying upon and killing cubs.  Typically this large, mature boar is the animal sought out by hunters as it is illegal to shoot a bear in a family unit.  View discretion is advised, as there are some gruesome images. Grizzly Bear boar kills cubs  

 

What about the big picture?: Feel good conservation looks at single species management without taking into account the big picture and the effect of their efforts on other wildlife and habitat in the area.  Caribou is a prime example of this.  Competitive prey reduction is an initiative that has had little if zero effect on caribou numbers.  Beginning in 2003, 1500 moose were reduced from the Revelstoke BC back country in a deliberate attempt to reduce wolf populations. The Hail Mary hope was that by removing food opportunity wolves would have less food, and their population would reduce, and the pressure would be taken off of Caribou.  It was an experiment, for no scientific modelling could guarantee success, costing 1500 moose their lives.

“Overall, these experiments suggest that increased hunting permits can effectively
reduce moose populations but there is mixed evidence that this translates to a reduction
in wolf numbers. There is some evidence that caribou populations can be stabilized by
reducing moose numbers but there are no cases to date of caribou populations
increasing following this treatment. ”  March 2016 A Review of population-based management of Southern Mountain caribou in BC
Millions of tax payers dollars blown on guesses and feelgood conservation:

Millions of dollars have been blown on the South Selkirk herd.  Failed transplants which saw the demise of dozens of caribou who were once living peaceful viable lives in Dease Lake BC were sentenced to death.  Many questioned the transplants, for the difference in ecotypes, meant the animals transplanted were not equipped for mountain life.  The Dease lake caribou were used to pawing for food,  not eating lichen in the trees. Those who questioned transplant viability were correct.  Yet another failed attempt with feel good conservation.  ”

“The hope was that the 19 survivors would meet up and join the resident Purcell herd, which was down to 14 animals. But instead, just the opposite happened. The northern caribou fanned out, apparently looking for something.

“Several went into Montana, one recently went into Washington,” said project leader, Steve Gordon.

“Whenever you are embarking on a transplant like this, it’s a risky endeavour. It’s kind of a critical intervention to try and restore this herd. We didn’t anticipate this level of mortality though,” said Gordon.

While government biologists might not have anticipated this outcome, opponents did. Moving northern caribou south has been tried before, according to Carmen Purdy, president of the Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund.

“They don’t make it. The last three transplants haven’t worked. Why do we keep trying the same thing over and over again?” read more here

 

My question why do human’s support feel good conservation that tortures and kills more wildlife than it actually recovers rather than Science based big picture thinking?

Our Kokanee Country Snowmobile Club has felt the brunt of emotion based Conservation.  Losing almost half of our riding area up the Kootenay Pass, we are locked out while logging and mining operations commence in “critical caribou habitat”. Currently over 4.9 million acres of riding are has been closed to snowmobiling, with more closures looming on the horizon.

As a user group, we are “the low hanging fruit” Easy to pick on and a wonderful scapegoat for mountain caribou recovery efforts.  It’s easy to pick on snowmobilers, for quite often we are our own worst enemy with every indiscretion and accident our user group experience makes is broadcast by main stream media instigating emotions of hate and disgust from urbanites.  Mining and Logging keep rural British Columbian towns alive, but many don’t consider the billions of dollars the sport of snowmobiling brings to our province and country.

We as a user group have asked for viable solutions such as exclosure pens, captive breeding, and for the struggling herd of caribou in the South Selkirk to be translocated to a more viable herd, with genetic diversity and strength in numbers protection. We have asked to be a part of the proccess, offering time and effort should an exclosure pen be errected for the South Selkirk’s dwindling herd.  Snowmobilers have been shut out completely.  Not permitted to attend stakeholder meetings, our voice disregarded, our questions left unanswered.  I have so many questions that seem to be burried away in some magical place.  Not even media search can find the answers to these questions.

  1.  If Caribou herds are affected by wolf predation, why were wolves transplanted into Ymir BC, a stones throw from the NCC Maternity pen, and into critical caribou habitat?  Occuring around 2012, eye witnesses observed this transplant, including my children and I who lived in the town at the time.
  2. If we are actively pursuing predator management and culling some wolves, why was there a recent wolf transplant near critical caribou habitat that is being protected for the South Selkirk herd?
  3. Was there a scenario unreported to the general public where a herd of caribou was run off a cliff by a helicopter working with caribou recovery?  Eye witnesses within the aviation hanger were present that day, but there is absolutely no media reporting on this event.
  4. At what point is a herd considered too far gone?  We’ve been quoted the number of 35 is the magic viable herd number.  Why the time, energy and torture of animals when a herd is scientifically seen as not viable?
  5. Why are mining and logging allowed when areas are closed to snowmobiling?  Our treasure of a honey hole near Arkansas lake was an incredible area recently closed.  Due to staging restrictions, this area would see from six to eight snowmobiles per week.  Closed last year, I was shocked to see logging operations commencing, along with the Bayonne Mine reopened.  The traffic the noise and habitat destruction have a far greater impact on the displacement of caribou than eight snowmobilers of a week.  How is this justified?
  6. Why is old telemetry used to try to justify closures.  Data from the 80’s and 90’s is presented by biologists to try to impress upon our user group lands being utilized by caribou.  Those little green dots have long since died, and herd numbers plumeted.  We see zero evidence of caribou tracks or the animals themselves.  We surveyed our club members, some who have been recreating up the Salmo Creston Pass for decades, and asked our membership if they had ever seen a caribou up the pass while out riding.  All but one individual said no, but the majority of members have seen Caribou on the summit on the highway at the summit lake rest stop and YRB maintenance yard.

These questions are never answered, and perhaps never will be answered which is the way of Feel Good Conservation vs Science based conservation.  It is sad, for everyone loses but for those receiving a paycheque for all their hard work, and those who thrive on warm fuzzy feelings.