Northern Yellowstone elk herd stabilizing

The annual January survey of the Northern Yellowstone elk herd shows the population seems to have stabilized over the past three years. Billings Gazette

For the third year in a row wildlife officials have counted roughly the same number of elk in the Northern Yellowstone herd, signaling a stabilized population after a relatively steady 20-year decline, starting when wolves were reintroduced into the ecosystem in 1995.

New angle on fishing

Samantha Schmidt of Missoula, Mont., casts for trout on a women’s reunion fishing trip featured in the film “Old Friends New Fish.” Photo by Sophie Danison / sophiedanison.com

The annual Fly Fishing Film Tour is coming to Spokane with the usual mix of saltwater and freshwater action, sizzling casts and screaming lines from domestic and international waters.

Finding critters near 7N Ranch

Racers cue up at the starting line of the first Moose on the Loose Winter Triathlon held at Harriman State Park on Saturday. The event consisted of a snowshoe leg, fat bike leg and ski leg. (Photo courtesy of Trever Turpin)

The first thing I noticed during Saturday’s cross-country ski at 7N Ranch were deer tracks. The tracks and trails went everywhere.

More Yellowstone bison means more winterkill, benefitting wolves

More bison in Yellowstone National Park means more dead and dying bison to feed wolves and other predators and scavengers. In this 2005 photo the Mollie’s wolf pack surrounds a weak bison in the Pelican Valley. Doug Smith / Yellowstone National Park

When Yellowstone National Park’s aching cold and deep snow claims the lives of winter-weakened bison, predators like wolves are one of the beneficiaries.

Winter recreation pays off for Harriman State Park

A fat bike rider leaves the warming hut yurt at Harriman State Park on Jan. 7. Nearby, the Idaho Falls Nordic Ski Patrol set up a table with hot cocoa and chili. Jerry Painter / jpainter@postregister.com

Long a popular summer destination, Harriman State Park officials in recent years have turned their focus to the winter. They opened the park to the surging sport of fat biking — the first state park to do so — and began plowing the main road for easier access to cabin and yurt rentals. New events have been added on weekends, including Harriman’s first winter triathlon, “Moose on the Loose,” scheduled for Saturday.

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