Thursday, January 26, 2017

Good point Bear, good point... uhmm, just stay right there... Honey, where are the fish sticks?


To many scientists and conservationists, grizzly bears are viewed as a barometer of an ecosystem’s health. Grizzlies are known as an umbrella or keystone species, terms that refer to the grizzly’s functional role within its ecosystem. The foraging behavior of an umbrella or keystone species creates a top-down effect on many other species lower in the food chain, such as ungulates, rodents, fish, insects or plant life. If the grizzly population is healthy and strong, so are these other populations from big game to native fish. Conversely, a faltering, fragmented grizzly population spells certain hardship for other wildlife, many species of which are positively affected by and dependent on the bear’s activity.
The places over which brown bears historically roamed have slowly disappeared under a human blanket of development and expansion into wild, pristine areas. Over the last 200 years, nearly 99 percent of the Great Bear’s territory has been lost. During this period, grizzly numbers dropped from 50,000 – 100,000 to around 1,800 today, according to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (2013). As a consequence, the grizzly now teeters on the brink of survival in the Lower 48 states.
To further complicate matters in this area, much of the brown bear’s best remaining habitat lays on private ground and thus beyond the core of protected federal lands. When these lands are lost and a population of animals fails to maintain its numbers, nature’s chain is broken, bringing the species ever closer to extinction.
In addition to the plant and animal species that are in danger of extinction, entire ecosystems are at risk from pollution, development and overuse. Much of the original habitat of brown bears—vast prairies, wetlands, forests and mountains—has been destroyed or developed. In fact, many people are surprised to learn that the simple act of building a logging road through forest service land is enough to drive out a sensitive species like the grizzly, which prefers to avoid humans. And so, as we encroach upon their lands acre by acre, optimal wildlife habitat is lost for grizzly bears and many other native species.
The remaining grizzlies in the U.S. live in the following five distinct ecosystems: Northern Continental Divide (NCDE); Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE); North Cascades Ecosystem; Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem; and the Selkirk Ecosystem.
Sadly, there is almost no movement between these ecosystems because of the level of human activity (and roads!) in the valleys and lowlands that separate them.
Recent analysis of habitat used by bears indicates that as much as 56% of the currently occupied habitat in the Northern Continental Divide, Cabinet-Yaak and Selkirk ecosystems lay on private land. In addition, nearly 30% of occupied grizzly habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is privately held.
The lands in private ownership along streams and lower elevations tend to be some of the most productive bear habitat, providing important spring range when higher mountain country is still under snow. In fact, private holdings comprise the majority of habitat needed to reconnect the now isolated U.S. Northern Rockies grizzly populations to more robust Canadian populations—a step scientists believe is key to maintaining a healthy future for the grizzly.
Vital Ground’s focus on protection of private property for grizzly bears is the answer that these scientists seek.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Caught Inside Monster Waves! A Surfers Worst Nightmare


Big wave surfing is the ultimate celebration of extreme surfing. Challenging deadly waves in harsh weather and ocean conditions takes a very serious approach.
Big wave surfers are not interested in performance. Forget perfect cutbacks, stunning floaters or breathless aerial antics. The profile of a big wave rider is the result of several unparalleled personal characteristics.

Fear is always present in a 50-foot wave. Fear is the best way of managing the risk of paddling for a huge wave face, which doesn't tell you what is going to happen and how it is going to break.

Monster waves tend to move quickly and force surfers to get away of the powerful whitewater. Big waves are lethal even for the most experienced extreme riders. The best big wave surf spots in the world have claimed several lives in the last decades.

Malik Joyeux, Sion Milosky, Moto Watanabe, Mark Foo, Donnie Solomon, Todd Chesser, Dickie Cross and Peter Davi have passed away in extreme surfing conditions. Wipeouts, severe coral reef injuries and drowning are the most common causes of death in big wave surfing.

The pioneers of big wave surfing started to eye impossible killer rides in the 1940's. In the 1960's, waves like Pipeline and Waimea increased the popularity of paddling into new wave heights. Going over the falls was the daily menu.

Laird Hamilton is the first professional big wave surfer. The waterman from Maui defies fast, hollow and high waves with a full-time training and previous preparation. Hamilton, the father of tow-in surfing, takes on the entire big wave spots of the Hawaiian Islands, in helicopter style.

In 2000, Laird Hamilton surfs what is considered the heaviest wave of all time. The "Millennium Wave" was ridden in the reef of Teahupoo, in Tahiti, and set a new standard for big wave surfing.

Garrett McNamara is one of the toughest big wave challengers. After riding a spectacular 78-foot wave in Nazaré, Portugal, the Hawaiian waterman entered the Guinness World Records with the biggest wave ever surfed.

The 55 best big wave surfers of all time is an exclusive extreme surfing club. From Jaws to Mavericks, Puerto Escondido, Punta Lobos, Ghost Trees, Belharra, Shipstern Bluff and Todos Santos, Nazare. these riders have set up a new scale in the definition of giant waves. They are:

Al Mennie, Andy Irons, Anthony Tashnick, Ben Wilkinson, Bob Pike, Brock Little, Buzzy Trent, Carlos Burle, Chris Bertish, Danilo Couto, Darrick Doerner, Darryl Virostko, Dave Kalama, Dave Wassel, Eddie Aikau, Frank Solomon, Gabriel Villaran, Garrett McNamara, George Downing, Brad Gerlach, Gerry Lopez, Grant Twiggy, Baker Grant Washburn, Greg Long, Greg Noll, Ian Walsh, Jamie Sterling, Jay Moriarty, Jeff Clark, Jeff Rowley, Jose Angel, João de Macedo, Kai Barger, Keala Kennely, Ken Bradshaw, Ken Colllins, Koby Abberton, Kohl Christensen, Laird Hamilton, Laurie Towner, Mark Foo, Mark Healey, Mark Mathews, Mark Visser , Maya Gabeira, Mike Parsons, Nathan Fletcher, Pat Curren, Peter Mel, Ramon Navarro, Richie Fitzgerald, Ross Clarke-Jones, Shane Dorian, Sion Milosky, Zach Wormhoudt