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High Uintas Bookshelf

A High Uintas Bookshelf

In this column we’ll list 2-4 interesting articles, books or the like that have caught our attention. They aren’t necessarily recent or recently read-- sort of a random compilation. Within a year, hopefully, we’ll have an established and detailed reading list. It won’t be complete without your additions. Please send suggestions and a descriptive sentence or two.

This month's reviews are by Dick Carter.

Conservation Biology. June 2002. "Snowmobile activity and glucocorticoid stress responses in wolves and elk." Scott Creel, et al.
For years game managers, snowmobilers and bear hounders, hunters and the like have said constant chasing and harassing wildlife has no impact on the animals except the thrill of the chase! Common sense suggests otherwise and now researchers have shown that snowmobiling does raise the level of some hormones in wild animals--stress hormones that are essential to reproduction and survival. The effects are not simply immediate effects, there and gone, but are long lasting. The researchers concluded at the present level of snowmobiling use in Yellowstone affects are not yet obvious but wildlife managers should be aware of looming problems noting "...the physiological effect is there to be seen."

Science News, July 20, 2002, "Crisis on Tap," and Science and Spirit, July/August 2002, "Tapped Out."
These two articles are summaries of much larger discussions dealing with the obvious--depletion of Earth's finite water resources. Noting that just over 1% of the water that makes Earth the Blue Planet is actually available for human use, one would think that we would covet that resource. Just look at what is happening today in Utah-- keeping our lawns watered has taken water from streams and wildlife in portions not yet seen. The amount available is disappearing and becoming contaminated more rapidly world wide than imaginable. Many of the aquifers now drained were filled with rainwater 15,000 years ago. Water use increased six times between 1990 and 1995; much of the planet faces water shortages today. An obvious catastrophe awaits a growing human population as well as hosts of fisheries and wild critters!

Conservation Biology. June 2002. "Effects of rock climbing on the vegetation of the Niagara Escarpment in Southern Ontario, Canada." McMillan, M.A., and D.W. Larson.
This is not the first article we've noted on these pages dealing with the negative ecological impacts from rock climbing within many sensitive cliff environments. But it states again, clearly, that the old supposition that rock climbing has no impact on cliff ecosystems is flat wrong. The impacts upon mosses, lichens, even vascular plants is profound; many climbed faces show major reduction in number of plants and species diversity, density and cover. The authors conclude land managers must clearly show climbers that they do have an impact and in many places must be severely restricted. Let's hope that happens and the climbing community abides.

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