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End of the Road – September 11, 2014

The US Forest Service is beginning to decommission some of its roads, opening the way for a wildlife comeback

On a crisp afternoon last October, beneath a canopy of larch, lodgepole, and red cedar, Pete Leusch led me up a trail in the heart of the Yaak Valley, the densely forested corner of northwest Montana that remains one of the wildest ecosystems in the Continental United States. A steep mountain stream coursed to our left and the broad, star-shaped leaves of thimbleberry lined the path – “A little mushy, but just delicious,” Leusch said of the berries. We picked our way around scattered clusters of elk pellets, nodded at the parallel scars that bears had etched in bark. The morning hung earthy and moist, like aerosolized mulch.


by: Ben Goldfarb

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On the Yukon River, a Troubling Salmon Decline – September 23, 2013

Overfishing, industrial bycatch, and climate change combine to reduce salmon numbers

Eagle, Alaska, is perched on a bend in the Yukon River, just eight miles west of the US-Canada border. What Eagle lacks in population – it claimed just 86 residents in the 2010 Census – it makes up in international fisheries importance. Every year, thousands of Chinook salmon swim past Eagle en route to their Canadian spawning grounds, some as far away as Teslin, Yukon, nearly 2,000 miles from the ocean.

Chinook salmonphoto by CaliforniaDFW, on FlickrChinook salmon

Before the salmon reach Eagle, they’re American fish; once they’ve passed the town, they effectively become Canadian. And while the salmon may not understand the distinction, the… more

by: Ben Goldfarb

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The Catch 22 of New England Fisheries’ Catch Share Scheme – April 1, 2013

Declining fish stocks and industry consolidation threaten to price out small-scale fishermen

Given that commercial fishing is the most dangerous occupation in the United States, and very far from the most lucrative, it takes a special tenacity to stick with the profession. Doug Maxfield is one such fanatic. Born in Essex, MA, a town over from Gloucester, Maxfield began digging for clams and surf-casting for striped bass when he was 13, then put himself through college by crewing aboard commercial vessels. In 2000, he began work aboard a gillnetting boat, targeting groundfish –– species such as haddock, pollock, and especially cod –– in the Gulf of Maine, and his obsession with the ocean began to pay off.

fishing boatmore

by: Ben Goldfarb

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