Bulletin: Perplexing news from Grand Teton National Park.
Notice: Pretty much everything speakable and even unspeakable has happened in Grant Teton National Park. But this activity is distinctly odd.
Visitors to Grand Teton National Park have reported an unfortunate and puzzling tendency of some motorists to park their vehicles off the macadam and on unpaved park lands adjacent to empty designated parking spaces. Even casual observation indicates this illegal activity has been going on for a long time at, for example, String Lake parking area, affecting a considerable area.
Never having noticed this behavior before to this extent, veteran park visitors, local residents and travelers alike are disappointed. Moreover, some of them have suggested that park officials consider ticketing and fining the culprits to reimburse for any expense incurred to restore damaged places. Vehicle owners can be traced from their vehicle license plates with relative ease.
There are circumstances and events when drivers pull to the sides of roadways to avoid traffic or to pause to view wildlife. Bad as these are, they’re momentary, not moderately long term, repetitive activities.
Some have speculated that the current sequestration of funding for America’s national parks is inhibiting law enforcement. Park spokesmen have not made a statement on the matter.
As often happens in journalism, there will be no follow-up to this news alert.
Turning now to Syria: What a mess.
Reminds me of an old country-western ditty: “Please, Mr. Custer, what am I doing here?” Poor miserable soldier finds himself in an untenable situation, desperate to escape an encirclement. All he can do is complain to his assigned commander.
As a current phrase has it, we are where we are. Only in this instance no one is quite certain where that is. A Middle East conflict — what’s new about that? Despots slaying their opposition. Some, with nothing else to lose, fighting to the death to depose the ruler. Thousands and millions killed, wounded, displaced on each side.
What should the U.S. do? Intervene or not? One path leads to long-term entanglement and boots on the ground. The other path leads to spreading war throughout the region.
It’s disconcerting, even devastating, to listen to politicians, strategists, historians, prominent personalities casually discussing what some military strike or other can be or should be mounted against Assad and Syria. “Take out” this or that installation, but no mention of the humans who will also be “taken out.” Pinpoint accuracy of long-range weapons. No boots on the ground. Send a signal. Who gets control of biological weaponry, no-fly zone, allied nations, disunited nationals. All discussed in hourlong bits, in 800-word columns, in family discussions. A casual girding for military action and unknown after-effects. Odd feeling.
Field Notes: It’s September, and elk are bugling in Jackson Hole. A few rainstorms have startled visitors and locals with their abruptness and energy, reminding some of the latter of September storms of years ago. Some even suggest (hope?) an old-fashioned fall and winter in the future. Time will tell.
Chokecherries are ripe, as are other shrubs and trees. Birds, bears and people all like fruits, and some literally depend on them for some periods, often many weeks.
Robins, ravens, blackbirds, geese are forming and reforming loose flocks, foraging with others of their kind and building fat reserves in preparation for winter or migration. Other birds slip away unnoticed. Those hummer hordes are down to a couple of individuals; that late Western tanager doesn’t show up any more; chickadees bounce through shrubbery in forest or town.
September can be a golden time. Too soon to judge, but some shrubs, willows and trees are showing signs of color. Wind down September.
© Bert Raynes 2013
Bert Raynes writes weekly on whatever suits his fancy with a dash of news on nature and its many ways.
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