Ursus arctos horribilis, man and the whitebark pine

Counter assault bear spray

Time to buy stock?

Things are getting confusing in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.


While there is no question that warming issues are impacting the whitebark pine by allowing the mountain pine beetle to inch-worm his way into higher elevations to infest the delicate pine ecosystem, questions are being raised as to how the tree’s resulting lower cone output is impacting human and grizzly interaction. The big brown bruins nosh on the seeds to pack on the ell-bees for winter.

Backpacker.com just published this brief piece on the matter, suggesting that cone shortage is certainly increasing the number of grizzly-human hook-ups. A recent incident in Cooke City, MT, just outside Yellowstone’s northeast entrance (an absolute incredible section of the park) certainly supports the essay’s argument. It also quotes a member of the U.S. Geological Survey as saying that it’s time to stock up on your supply of Counter Assault.

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SPOT GPS Messenger isn’t getting the message.

SPOT GPS Messenger

Really. It's not that simple.

If you have spent any time perusing outdoor gear catalogs and Web sites in the last couple of years, chances are you have come across an ad for the Spot Satellite GPS Messenger, a quasi-GPS device that isn’t as much route finder (a recent technology integration with DeLorme has added that functionality to one version, however) as it is signal flag.

With the touch of a button on the SPOT, specified friends and family can find out your status on extended trips into the backcountry. “Hey, I’m at camp, firing up the Ramen,” the device beeps out into space and then rockets back to a family member’s inbox.

Primarily, it is designed as a rescue device, as it also has the ability to send out an emergency distress message when things get a bit uncomfortable out there. “So, we’re not dying, but we could use a hand.”

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