As I trudged (which is the only form of movement that can be done on snowshoes) back towards my car I thought how difference between an excursion in Yellowstone than other places: the animals here are as much a part of the landscape as the thermal features and rivers. It is easy to imagine myself as a mountain man like Jim Bridger, or even a pioneer. They saw the West filled with life around every corner. To take a walk alone here is to step back in time and catch a glimpse of life before Europeans fulfilled their "manifest destiny". It takes more effort to live near wildlife. If there are deer or other ungulates around having a garden or planting new trees can be difficult. If there are predators it changes how we care for our pets and where we put our garbage. I have been impressed by the community here that has learned to do some of these things.
|Coyote taking the easiest path to his destination.|
Yellowstone is a place where wildlife can live essentially without human involvement and that's not the best choice for every landscape. But in every landscape we can make small changes in our lives that improve the situation for our furry, feathered, and pollinating friends. A backyard can easily be made into a bird habitat. Do you know which plants are native to your area? Try growing a few. Nature isn't just thousands of miles away in a designated state or federal facility. It can also be in each town or city, if we make a place for it.
"Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land." -Aldo Leopold