Rickylyn Cundiff on May 27th, 2016

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At a local gift shop in Gardiner, we noticed this Montana Elk Poop for sell. The product is a type of candy or cracker that you can eat that is supposed to look like elk poop. From my economic lense, this is a great way to attract buyers who may love elk and want to try some of their “poop.” The manufacturers did a great job of making this as pretty and friendly as possible. This image helps show how much the community loves the elk in Gardiner and are even indirectly  using them to make money.

 

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This elk antler arch was located in the town of Jackson in Wyoming. There were four located around the outside of a small memorial park. What is so fasincating about these is arches is that local Boy Scouts collect these antlers once the bull elks shed them. These arches have been up since 1960, but every year the Boy Scouts still collect them and auction them off. These is a great way to get the community involved and appreciating all that the elk have to offer. I think this image is successful because it shows how much pride the community of Jackson has for such a beautiful animal.

Hannah Speake on May 26th, 2016

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Elk are becoming very familiar with the human figure being a few feet away. Fish and Game are in charge of controlling the distance of elk and humans but when the Fish and Game are not around tourists are a few inches away. What can the Fish and Game do about elk becoming familiar with humans? More advertisements of how serious the problem is can help also fines should be put into action if a tourist is violating the distance law. There are laws set for other animals such as bison and bears that involves a set distance. Humans must get out of the wildlife’s path because they have the potential to be dangerous. Therefore, the law should apply to elk so they are able to be comfortable in their natural habitat.

Eric Lewis on May 26th, 2016

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In Gardiner, Montana, Elk walking through the streets was a normal thing. On several occasions we saw Elk either standing in the gas station parking lot or just walking up and down the street, stopping for some lunch in somebodies front lawn. This brings up the issue of Elk management. Clearly Elk are not staying in Yellowstone National Park as Gardiner is about 8 miles outside of the park. Is this because they are losing sight of their true migratory patterns? Or is this because their populations are simply just too large and they have to expand outside the park. With the reintroduction of wolves into the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1995, Elk populations were brought back under control. So this is likely more a migratory problem. Wildlife Biologists have started putting collars on these animals to help track their movements, and perhaps this will help to start to keep them in their natural habitats and fix the migratory issues that these animals are having.

Rickylyn Cundiff on May 26th, 2016

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I found this brochure  at the Game and Fishery Management Center in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, when we spoke to two Wildlife Biologists, Ben and Aly.  This public document was meant to raise awareness for the different elk hunting restrictions. Included inside it describes the different hunting seasons with the different types of licenses and limitations as well as includes an area map with the different zones and their regulations on it. On the back side, there are telephone numbers to call to help save and donate to the elk population. This public document is trying to communicate to not only hunters, but everyone, the importance of following the rules, not only for the elk’s sake, but for humans as well. The elk picture on the front helps readers know exactly what animal is being under consideration and in the bold font it clearly states 2015 Elk Hunting Regulations, which will attract the readers attention. This correlates to our issue of how to manage elk effectively without under populating or overpopulating.

 

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The following two images come from a flyer that was given to me by a park ranger at the Craig Thomas Visitor Center in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This flyer gives in great detail everything you need to know about managing elk, their physical characteristics, the refuge, and even includes a map on the back indicating where they can be hunted. The purpose of this is to inform visitors about the elk population and ways that they can help protect the elks and themselves. The flyer was folded into a small packet that was easy to transport and had a fun picture of elk on it. The whole thing is black and white to most likely save money on something that most people will probably throw away. What I thought was interesting was that I had to ask if they had a flyer on elk. There were no flyers out for people to grab on any topic. This is probably because not many people are interested in the issues involving elk or any animal. This public document is a great source of information of our pack to learn more about the elk annual cycle and the management program.

 

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The above images are from a public document found in the hotel we stayed in, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There were many on display for people to grab and look through as they pleased. This particular document is trying to persuade people to visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. This Discovery Center seems to very human centered as there are many shows put on for people, and they can view the animals within close proximity. Perhaps this document is trying to portray that these animals are actually quite normal and the wildlife experts are trying to get people to not be as scared of them as this is probably a very educational experience. In terms of looking at this through the ethical lense, I feel that there will be multiple people who do not agree with the type of environments these animals are being put in. This discovery center puts on shows where the bears try to open “Bear-resistant” containers, where the bears do not have to hibernate, and where visitors can come eye-to-eye with wolves. Many of these are either not natural environments for the animal as the bear naturally hibernates during the winter, or are very human centered in terms of entertainment. After recently visiting Yellowstone National Park, I got this feeling of overwhelming love for the natural and untouched lives for the wildlife. Certainly there are some people who either live near Yellowstone National Park or who just have a general love for the wildlife, that would strongly disagree with this form of grizzly and wolf management.

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I found this literature in Jackson, Wyoming when we visited the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. The pamphlet overviews why Brucellosis is a tough disease to eliminate in cattle, elk, and wild bison. A few facts located on the back on the pamphlet states that the disease is contagious, travels on the animals nose, mouth, or eyes by contact of diseased fetuses, placentas, or contaminated organisms. The pamphlet grasps attention because of the colorful pictures of the wildlife. From a political standpoint ranchers are loosing millions of dollars because of brucellosis so the amount of money needs to be debated of how to prevent the spread of the disease. The Governor’s Brucellosis Coordination Team is a group of twenty-two members that are experienced at state and federal level that provide public meetings for open opinions on how to treat the disease. Other agencies such as USDA-APHIS and the Wyoming Livestock Board is also involved in the prevention of brucellosis.  Also, educational programs are managing solutions with federal agencies. My political lens ties in with my issue (elk) by federal and state agencies are currently creating solutions to the brucellosis in elk.

Hannah Speake on May 20th, 2016

Bison..Danger!

The humans are warned about the Bison in Mammoth Springs.

Rickylyn Cundiff on May 20th, 2016

Today, we traveled to Cooke City, Montana and arrived at about 9 am at the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center. There we first interviewed Kelly and Dan Hartman, a daughter and farmer team that both love the history of Cooke City and moved to here when Kelly was a year old. Kelly Hartman is currently the director at the Visitors Center and Museum in Cooke City, but will soon be moving to Bozeman, Montana to work at another museum where she will  be creating exhibits. Dan Hartman is a wildlife photographer, who also does guides and talks about local wildlife with tourists and researchers. Dan noted that when the wolves were reintroduced into the wild, he changed his business. More wolf watchers have come to the area and now the winter season is more popular for his business. Mostly in the spring and fall he does photography, while summer is his vacation time.

Kelly and Dan both discussed their lifestyles, mentioning the fact that in the winter they have to drive three hours to get to the closest grocery store, where they buy bulks of food for two weeks. They said it was hard to heat up their house due to the cold and windy climate. Kelly noted that growing up in Cooke City, she went to a school with 17 people between K-12 with only one teacher for all the grades. 17 was the largest student body the school had seen. The school only closed down one day for an power outage through her whole K-8 education. She found herself hanging with her younger sister a lot because the school was mostly full of boys. Kelly drove almost 2 hours to get to school in Gardiner, Montana and sometimes ran into buffalo crossing the street.

Dan’s artwork started getting published in the 1980’s, but his job was inconsistent. He started making money from his prints and soon got a job as a guide. He has done work for many major wildlife names, such as National Geographic.The two talked about their encounters with wildlife, one being that as a child Kelly and her sister got very close to a bear and other was that a bison was walking on ice that was on their roof.

Dan discussed that the elk are not over grazing anymore so there is more grass available, due to the wolves killing the elk. The elk are also gradually migrating away from where the wolves are living. He noted that the wolves helped balance the ecosystem and said that there will always be issues with the wolves.

After the interview at about 11 am, we toured Cooke City. As you entered the town, an Emergency Center was located on the left and two motels located beside each other. A bar followed these hotels as well as some residential housing. On one of the side streets near many houses, bison were through the area. We stopped at Cooke City Alpine Hotel and talked to the man running the front desk. The man said that he has been living here for six years because he bought the hotel and has most of his business 8 months out of year. He noted that throughout the year his staff changes by having college girls work in the summer and more technicians in the winter.  He also said he has the largest hotel with 30 rooms.The man also discussed how the town would not survive without tourism because there is no other industry.

When we asked him about elk, he thought that the animals were important part of the community and economy. He remembers as a kid seeing elk everywhere, but now since wolves have been reintroduced, he has noticed a change in the elk. The wolves have forced the elk to go back into the lower flat lands, however, this is their natural habitat. He also said the wolves would always be an issue and there is no way to fully manage them. He didn’t really like them because they kill prey for fun and that they can take a person’s livestock away in a matter of seconds.

As we continued, we noticed that they were a lot of dogs running around and going into businesses as well as there were many gift shops for people to stop at. There were also many restaurants that seem to mostly sell burgers and barbecues. There were no crosswalks located the town and most of the houses looked newer than the stores.

We interviewed a young male in his late twenties at the Exxon. He moved to Cooke City because his family has vacationed there since he was a child. Many of the citizens obtain two jobs because they need more income. Besides work, he enjoys to fly fish, backpack, and snowboard. His family also  owned property in the late forties in Silver Gate. He has not had any encounters with wildlife but he believed that reintroducing the wolves was a great idea.  He understands that ranchers can be impacted by the wolf population but there are more benefits such as the food chain. He also believes that hunters should have a permit to hunt the wolves and he strongly disagrees with trophy hunting. It was nice to interview to different people with different opinions on wolves.

The small town feel was definitely prevalent in Cooke City. The local citizens were very friendly although there were not many people on the streets. This city is very tourist based,therefore without tourist the city would not survive. The town was so rural that bison were roaming the side streets next to houses. The city was not diverse at all. The citizens of Cooke City that we saw were all Caucasian. Some public documents that we saw in the town were real estate newspapers and business cards with mainly one agent on them, which shows how small the town is. We also saw many highway maps on states such as Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming at the Visitors Center. There were many brochures for tourists to pick up showing different activities and adventures you could go on, such as horseback riding and hiking. We also saw many bumper stickers that mentioned alcohol and drinking in some fashion, showing that people do not have much to do other  than drink. The public docuements in this town were very different from ones such as Jackson, who had more magazines and newspapers than Cooke City.

We all enjoyed Cooke City and the small town feel as well as felt somewhat of a culture shock from what we were used to. It was definitely an eye opening experience for us.

 

 

Rickylyn Cundiff on May 20th, 2016

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Through our tour of Mammoth Hot Springs, we encountered some elk just laying in the middle of town.

Rickylyn Cundiff on May 20th, 2016

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On our Natural History Foray hike, we got to see and hold elk antlers!

Eric Lewis on May 19th, 2016

We performed our place as text exploration on Wednesday, May 18th at 8:20am. In Gardiner, we saw a lot of  buildings that promoted activities such as skiing and white water rafting. There were saloon style restaurants, and the gift shops were filled with animal souvenirs, with the items being quite expensive. We noticed that most of the buildings are two stories tall and that there were no stop lights in the entire town. Lots of construction was going on and there were some “help wanted” signs located in the stores, but not as many as in Jackson. A lot of the stores have Huckleberry products that are widely used and taken advantage of because of their popularity. Dogs seem to be a prominent figure and are found roaming throughout the town along with four-wheelers.

In the first interview that we conducted, we talked to a woman in her 20’s at the Yellowstone Gift Shop. She lives in town and liked living in Gardiner in the beginning, but she thinks that it’s starting to get old. She does a five mile commute every day, and said the school system is the best in the state. She pointed out that the crime rates were low and that the street lights had been put up a year ago. If there is any crime at all that happens it is usually drunk driving, or caused by tourists that come through and loiter or cause trouble. We concluded that perhaps life may be simpler here than in Jackson.

The second interview was with a lady in the Sinclair gas station. She has lived in Gardiner since 1986 and she loves the town and gets a lot of tourists. She also claims that her business survives because of the tourists as the busiest time is from April to October. She seemed to be used to elk walking through the town, but has a six foot fence to keep both elk and bison out of her yard. Bison clearly seem to be some what of an issue as she talked about how one time a bison used her husband’s car as a scratching post. Relating to bison, she commented on how the town has recently decreased the speed limit, perhaps because of caution when bison are crossing the road. Her family that lives in town is her husbands and she moved into Gardiner from Kentucky. Typically, she said that the older people tend to retire and move out of the town, as younger people tend to move into the town. With only about 1000 people in this town, everyone is pretty close with each other and takes care of one another pretty well. For example, there was a loss in the community and everyone seemed to rally together to support her family in the time of need. The school in the town is K-12 and only has about 85 students in it. Because of the community in the town, they tend to rally around the teams such as basketball and track. She pointed out how they were turning the apartments into a hotel and a 3 night motel, which is taking space away from residential housing and creating space for more tourists. Right down the street she has family that also owns a business, which puts things into perspective of the size of the town.

We noticed that throughout the town that the majority ethnicity is white. While there are some Asians and Hispanics, they were either tourists or construction workers. The community itself is very rural with a population of about 1,200 people.  The Gardiner landscape is surrounded by mountain ranges with a river running through the middle of it. There is not that much change in elevation throughout the town as it seems to be generally pretty flat. Though the main roads are paved, many of the side roads are not and consist of mainly gravel. Also, with the bicentennial coming up there is a lot of construction to deal with the massive amounts of people they are expecting to come through the town, which will effect the landscape of the town. There is also a lot less grass, trees, and parks than in Jackson. With the town being in close proximity to Yellowstone National Park, it is also common for elk to walk through town.

Throughout the town, there are public documents that give information about the wildlife and generic information the public just may need to know about. One public document we found is the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce Free Community Newsletter. Something found in this public document is a lost and found section that informs the public of some items that had recently been found that were thought to have been lost. Also, there is a section that informs the public of a time that a meeting is being held in which people are invited to come and learn more about pronghorn antelope conservation efforts. There is also a list of houses for sale, which is an important issue as people are moving in and out of the town and trying to find places to live. Below is a picture of what the newsletter looks like.

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Rickylyn Cundiff on May 16th, 2016

We walked down Broadway Street first and found an Emergency Medical Center, many hotels and motels, and a Chinese Bistro restaurant. We also saw a very colorful painted Bison for people to take pictures of outside of one of the hotels. The area was very clean but also very busy with traffic. There were also nobody walking down this street. Broadway was located at the bottom of the huge mountain without trees on it.

Next, we went up Jackson Street. We found another medical center and a local park called Miller Park, The park was beautiful and the landscaping was well kept. The park also had a playground for children to play on, but no dogs were allowed. This may be to help keep the grass clean and so children and their parents don’t step on poop.  We passed the park at about 9 am and no one was there, probably due to the fact that children are in school and people are at work.  The local lodges around were all painted natural colors, such as blue, green, and brown. The bulidings were also very short and flat. There were stones in some of the sides of the buildings, making the architecture different.  Overall, these area was very quiet compared to the busy main road. It seems that the people are focused on hotels and motels versus businesses in this area.

Towards the back side of town, the buildings seemed to get taller and more residents were located here. Some of the houses were run down and one shop even had moss grown into their wood shingles. We found that most places around had wooden shingles. Maybe this is due to the fact that the towns regulations may be different from what we are used to.

On Glenwood, we saw a “Gotta Have It” shop, that was like a yard sale shop with all its merchandise outside. Once of the sections even had a free sign on it, but the quality of goods was bad. We spoke to a lady in that area who has lived in Jackson for 20 years. She works at a local daycare and has three kids that go to school in this area. She said that they school system was great and that the people who come in the summer help the local businesses by bringing in money. We had low expectations for the school system because of the tourist atmosphere, but the lady said the schools were great.

Also on Glenwood, we passed a local resident who had skis embedded into the fence, using them as if they were posts. The skis were also color coordinated and were located throughout the entire fence. This helps promote the skiing in the area. This piece shows how the owner is combining art and a major local attraction into one.

As we were walking back, we got really close to a raven wihthout it flying away. This is probably due to the fact that people are always walking around and they are used to human by now. We also noted that the environment was very clean and there were some streets located throughout the sidewalks. Also, there were not many people walking around at 9 am. Overall, we enjoyed walking throughout our section of Jackson and getting to know the culture of the community even better!