HOWL can we balance Wild Nature with Human Nature?

History, Wildlife

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Gray wolf

Wyoming is facing a major dilemma today.  The gray wolf (Canis lupus), which was RE-introduced into the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1995 (after being wiped out by humans in the early 1900’s), has become the symbol of many things in the human world.  Are they wanton killers or indispensable protectors of the natural ecosystem?  Are they evil monsters driving moose to extinction or are they extraordinary allies bringing balance to an area that has been suffering from human interference for so long that we no longer know what is “normal” or natural?

There are two very distinct and very vocal sides to the “wolf issue” here.  Both sides are convinced that they are right and the other is wrong.  There are no easy answers. . . and time is running out.   Local outfitters feel they are being driven out of business by the wolf, while conservationists believe the wolf has only just started to make a comeback, and is hardly recovered yet.  And there are a lot of angry Wyomingites who feel that the wolf is the symbol of government control… and even THAT issue is seen on both sides!

One side believes that the Federal Government had no right to re-introduce a predator that had been successfully eradicated from the area.  The other side is enraged with the current Wyoming State Government for implementing a new rule that will allow people to kill any and all wolves (including new born pups in their dens) at any time even while trespassing on private property with absolutely NO penalty!  This new policy would again upset the fragile balance of nature which the re-introduction had finally restored.

September 9th is the deadline for public comments to be received and considered by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.  The Commission will only read comments which are on the proper form. Visit the Wyoming Game and Fish website and click on “Wolf Plan Comment Form.”  Be sure to read the revised Gray Wolf Management Plan and send your comments soon if you are concerned about how the future of the wolf will be handled in Wyoming.

 

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Wildly Scenic is a blog by Barker-Ewing employees and fellow river enthusiasts.

Established in 1963, Barker-Ewing Float Trips has been sharing the beauty and wonder of Grand Teton National Park with visitors from around the world for over 40 years, floating beneath the Grand Tetons on the headwaters of the Snake River.

www.facebook.com/BarkerEwing

Sounds of Summer – Yummy!

Wildlife

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Mountain Cicada, Photo courtesy of Afrogster Photography

In all the years I’ve lived in and around the Rockies, I don’t remember it being this noisy in the summertime.   I’ve never been to the South or spent much time back east, so my Cicada experiences have been limited to National Geographic  Specials on TV.  But this summer, you could hear that distinct Cicada sound everywhere — all around Grand Teton National Park, along the Snake River, hiking around Jackson, in my own backyard.

So I finally had to look ’em up.  The cicadas we have here are a mountain cicada, Okanagana bella, which has a two to seven-year life cycle.   They lay their eggs in the branches of trees, and after hatching the insects fall to the ground where they burrow deep into the earth for years, before re-emerging to mate.

But my favorite new Cicada fact – some people EAT them.  REALLY!  In Southeast Asia and Latin America, and even here in the United States in fact. The females are prized for being meatier, or so they say (on Wikipedia).  I wouldn’t know (someone dared me to lick a slug when I was at camp in middle school, but they didn’t serve us cicadas at the campfire. Darn it!).   In North China they are skewered, deep fried, or stir fried as a delicacy. Hmmm.  What an idea.

As we approach the end of summer, the Cicada song has finally subsided. So if you really want to test this tasty theory, you better do it soon–or wait another 7 years…

~Laura, Barker-Ewing Office

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Wildly Scenic is a blog by Barker-Ewing employees and fellow river enthusiasts.

Established in 1963, Barker-Ewing Float Trips has been sharing the beauty and wonder of Grand Teton National Park with visitors from around the world for over 40 years, floating beneath the Tetons on the headwaters of the Snake River.

www.barkerewing.com

Our Legend of the Snake…Dick Barker

History, Rafting

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This Friday afternoon, the Snake River Fund will be bringing the 5th annual “Legends of the Snake” float trip to Grand Teton National Park.  Our owner and founder, Dick Barker, will be a part of this float, as will co-founder Frank Ewing.  This provides me with a great opportunity to give a brief (hopefully) history of Barker-Ewing Float Trips.

Although technically not a Jackson Hole Native, Dick has spent every summer of his life (since he was a yearling) here in Moose, WY.  There were a couple of winters thrown in here and there, and by 1955 Moose had become his permanent residence.  He first floated on the Snake River in 1946 with his step-father, who was a fishing guide.  In 1956, he became a fishing guide himself working for Bob Carmichael after having purchased his first boat… an Air Force survival raft from a military surplus store in Ogden, UT.

While he was working behind the counter at Carmichael’s Tackle Shop, in between guiding fishermen down the river, he would have the occasional “odd request”,  some people would ask if they could hire him to take them down the river… WITHOUT a fishing pole (“Do we HAVE to fish?”)!  Although he initially thought those poor people were crazy, the requests continued to come in.  By the winter of 1962, he became one of the “crazy” people (if you can’t beat them… join them!), and the following spring he started up his own scenic float trips.

Dick Barker’s Snake River Float Trips were the first scenic trips to launch at Deadman’s Bar and float to Moose, a trip which he pioneered.  Adults were $7.50 and children $5.00!  That same season, Frank Ewing (who had been a river guide on the pontoon rafts operated by the Grand Teton Lodge Company) saw the merits of having his own company, and started taking his military surplus raft from Pacific Creek to Moose for small individual parties.  They became friendly competitors, and whenever one was booked up, he would refer passengers to the other.

In 1967, Dick and Frank went in together and purchased a third raft, (and trailer and Land Rover), and Barker-Ewing was born!  They hired Verne Huser (former Lodge Company boatman, seasonal Park Ranger… and former roommate of Frank’s!) as the first B-E guide (although for a short time Dick and Frank both continued to run their own trips… so Verne WAS Barker-Ewing initially)!  Barker-Ewing grew rapidly and  in 1972 started running whitewater trips in the Snake River Canyon south of Jackson.    The whitewater portion of the company was run out of the Ewing’s home up Cache Creek Canyon in Jackson, while the scenic floats continued to be run out of Dick’s childhood home in Moose.

Although the partners decided to split up during the winter of 1984/85, they both continue to run their portion of the river under the Barker-Ewing name.  Frank is mostly retired now, with his daughter Heather at the helm, but Dick still runs operations here in Moose (although no longer at the oars!).  He is one of the Legends of the Snake… and he is also my father.  I am so very proud of him!!

Leith Barker

Barker-Ewing’s Girl Friday

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Established in 1963, Barker-Ewing Float Trips has been sharing the beauty and wonder of Grand Teton National Park with visitors from around the world for over 40 years, floating beneath the Grand Tetons on the headwaters of the Snake River.

www.facebook.com/BarkerEwing

Happy Locals Hike Snow King

Hiking & Climbing

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Last week was sunny and gorgeous (unlike today’s random rain), so on my day off from Barker-Ewing, I decided to go for a hike up the “town hill” – Snow King Mountain.  Here we call it a hill, though I suppose it isn’t, since it rises 1,771 feet above town.

It’s mid-summer, which can get a little crazy around town. Which is understandable when you are the gateway to Grand Teton National Park AND Yellowstone.  The narrow streets of Jackson seem to be bursting at their seams with all the traffic passing through.

So anyways, I was in town early and decided to hike up Snow King.  And what a welcome relief it was.  Town looked quaint and even peaceful, from 8,005 feet. You could see Flat Creek as it meanders through the Elk Refuge towards town, and the Tetons in the distance.  And everyone I encountered on the trail was so NICE!

Seriously, nearly every single person I passed along the way made an effort to smile, or caught their breath enough to say “Hi.”  From 7 years to 70, all kinds of folks were making their way to the summit, and all seemed to appreciate the respite from the city pavement as much as I did.  If you want to be surrounded by happy, relaxed people, hike Snow King.

~Laura, Barker-Ewing Office 

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Wildly Scenic is a blog by Barker-Ewing employees and fellow river enthusiasts.

Established in 1963, Barker-Ewing Float Trips has been sharing the beauty and wonder of Grand Teton National Park with visitors from around the world for over 40 years, floating beneath the Tetons on the headwaters of the Snake River.

www.facebook.com/BarkerEwing