At Home in the Landscape
Now that the gray wolf is back, Greater Yellowstone is again home to the full complement of animals that Lewis and Clark might have seen here on their voyage of discovery.
"Visiting, recreating, or living here, we have to alter our behavior—we can’t expect wildlife to change how they act just because we’re around. Bears, for example, have remarkable memories. One bag of potato chips at a campground or one bowl of pet food left outside can put that place permanently on the bear's mental map of places I go to look for food. That’s how wild bears become problem bears."
—Libby Scott, animal curator, Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, West Yellowstone, MT
“We’re known around the world for our public lands, but animals like elk, deer, and pronghorn depend on private land—mostly farms and ranches in our open valleys. These animals come down from the mountains to find food and milder weather. Carnivores follow. The whole ecosystem depends on private lands.”
—Mark Petroni, US Forest Service District Ranger, retired, Madison Valley, MT, Fort Hall, ID
“Wildlife watching here changes with the seasons. In spring, Elk wade in a sea of purple camas wildflowers. In winter, on snowshoes, you can track a coyote stalking a mouse to the edge of the water. Look up, and you’re face-to-face with thirty yakking trumpeter swans floating on the river.”
—Kyle Babbitt, year-round resident, Island Park, ID