The Wild West

Don’t you think this lake is a beautiful, natural wonder?


I did at first too. Until I discovered that it had been poisoned with rhodium, explaining the green colour. The chemical is white but was dyed green to track it’s dispersal. The reasoning behind the poisoning was to kill all the fish in the lake. Following this, native fish will be reintroduced into the lake to breed and then be placed in nearby streams. I know it is necessary in order to regain ‘wilderness’ areas but the initial poisoning seems so barbaric. It is a massive project that I have struggled with since the beginning of working for the forest service. My brain knows it is needed and we must reintroduce these native species before they become extinct but part of me sees poising lakes as destructive.  Surely, there must be another way? It seems drastic to kill all fish to make an environment suitable for only native fish. It does seem that the non – native fish species cannot coexist with native species but why can’t we just accept the fact things have changed and non native fish are okay and not the enemy?

Not only were the fisheries crew doing this but they were rebuilding the stream system, widening parts of the river and blocking creeks from flowing. This human manipulation of a ‘natural’ system is an oxymoron. How can we say we are creating ‘wilderness’ when the definition of ‘wilderness’ is to be devoid of humans?

This said, after the day in the field we saw an incredible presentation at the university by a talented local photographer.
(Dillon university – where the talk took place)

He had taken the most magnificent pictures of Montana and played them to fitting music. One short presentation he named wilderness and the shots were phenomenonal. These wilderness pictures really stuck a chord with me and reinforced the idea that we must protect these beautiful areas. If to protect them we have to poison lakes maybe it is worth while. The clip included shots which displayed human destruction of the nearby area too, which had me close to tears. His presentation was highly touching. I asked if I could buy his CD and he kindly gave me his for free. So now I can show you all back home. Montana, (western usa) is an area of outstanding beauty and these pictures highlight it perfectly.

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