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The growing horde of new outdoor goers has longtime public lands users worried

Visitors continue to descend on national parks, forests, wildlife preserves and more in record numbers, often with negative results
A park ranger directs traffic at Yellowstone National Park's north entrance (photo: Jacob Frank / NPS).

If you need more evidence that Americans are escaping to the outdoors in droves, here it is: Over Memorial Day weekend, visitation numbers at Yellowstone National Park were up 50 percent from the same weekend in 2019. The only reason the National Park Service didn’t use 2020 data is because, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a limited number of the park’s entrances were open to visitors last year.

A Montana fishing story

There are days when it feels like I’m Charlie Brown and the river is Lucy, just begging me to kick the football
Photo: Todd Tanner

There’s a river I fish on a fairly regular basis that’s less than a 10 minute drive from my front door.

While it’s relatively large — at least for a Montana trout stream — it runs warmer than our other local waters because it flows into, and then out of, a natural, un-dammed lake. Except for the cooling influence of the occasion spring or seep, the river water below the outflow is approximately the same temperature as the lake’s sun-baked surface — which means things warm up quickly in the spring and stay that way into October.

The winds of change

The new infrastructure bill could help prevent the worst climate impacts
Photo: Todd Tanner

Last week was wild. The wind screamed down from the mountains with gusts pushing 50 miles per hour and the massive spruce tree less than ten feet from our back door bent first with grace, and then, as the storm’s fury increased, with a sudden and jarring violence.

The long green limbs acted like a sail in the wind, putting immense pressure on the shallow root system, and we watched the ground on the tree’s windward side bulge up three or four inches with each house-shaking gust.

Fly fishing's lost heart

When a craft becomes an industry, something is lost
Photo: Earl Harper / Harper Studios.

A few weeks back, a friend sent me an article from Angling Trade magazine, entitled "An Influencer Rows Through It." The piece discussed the general phenomenon of the influencer in the modern business of fly fishing and, specifically, a rhetorical battle that seems to have developed around two influencers who happen to be fairly young and unapologetically female.

Growing up on a pond

Things are different when you grow up on a pond
Photo: Clemens v. Vogelsang / cc2.0

Things are different when you grow up on a pond. The sounds of water lapping at the shore, and the melody of the birds, and the faint whisper of a breeze are always there, but they’re invisible—inaudible—residing just far enough from your conscious mind that they’re like the air you breath; vital, but forgotten and unnoticed in the moment.

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