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Greater Yellowstone Photo Of The Day: Recreation Intersecting Wild Nature

One glimpse at ecosystem death by 10,000 scratches

Often, when we think about the crushing impacts of people on nature, mental images of mass tourism along the roadsides of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks come to mind.  We forget that sometimes it only takes a few people, relatively speaking, to exact huge impacts on nature.

In this photograph, above, our friend, the very talented aerial photographer, Chris Boyer, flew over a wetland near Island Park, Idaho recently.  This is what he observed and said, sharing the image on social media: "I wonder whether all the ATV riders found any nesting swans as they tore through this emergent wetland. I didn’t."

Island Park is located outside of Yellowstone just beyond the western national park boundary.

In the 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine, devoted entirely to Yellowstone, the former park science chief Dave Hallac was asked about his greatest concern for ecosystem health looking forward. He noted that the major issues—development, climate change etc.—represent "death by 1,000 cuts" but a larger worry is the more insidious effects that slowly, almost imperceptibly, whittle away at the natural fabric. Something he dubbed "death by 10,000 scratches."

Savor more of Boyer's photographs at: cfboyer.com
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