|Yellowstone River - Bellow Yellowstone Lake - Photo Courtesy of: Big Sky Fishing.Com|
As much as I wish the above scenario was real, it isn't, but the above is something I find myself day dreaming about often as I am sure many of a fly fisherman or fisherwomen has done themselves. For those that have actually had the opportunity to live out the above scenario, I envy you and hope you realize how special it was and how lucky you are. When I hear the words like native, wild and pristine there are only two places that come to mind. One is Alaska and the other is Yellowstone. Both of these incredible places are on my wish list and reside at the top of that list.
The nature and beauty of Yellowstone was so apparent to our ancestors that they were smart enough to see the need to preserve this area and protect it so it would remain as wild and beautiful as ever for many generations to come and in doing so Yellowstone became the first National Park in 1872 and started a new concept on keeping wild places wild and open for all to enjoy.
Defining what is natural and wild can be an interesting discussion as many groups in the past have tried to restore certain specifies of wildlife or fish to an area where it once flourished as well as try to improve the numbers and quality for those looking to recreate and spend time there. This balance is always a struggle and as good as a plan seemed years ago, it may not be that good today. As many people visit Yellowstone each year and enjoy in the glory it has to offer, we must remember that there is a constant battle to keep Yellowstone truly wild, native, pristine and open for all and it is programs like the Native Fish Conservation Program that will be used to keep it this way.
The Native Fish Conservation Program is based on a National Park Service plan, approved May 2011, which outlines the park’s increased focus on restoring native fish and creating resiliency in fish populations. It lays out a detailed management strategy to ensure that native fish are restored to sustainable levels, so that they can support the natural food chain, native biodiversity, and sport fishery purposes.
The top priority of the NPS plan is to decrease the number of predatory, non-native lake trout, which in recent years have dramatically reduced the number of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone Park Foundation funding of the Native Fish Conservation Program will allow for a significant effort to suppress lake trout through private sector netters on Yellowstone Lake. The goal of sustained efforts is to recover Yellowstone cutthroat trout to mid-1990s levels.
|Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout - Photo Courtesy of: National Park Service|
Maintaining that balance to what was truly native and belongs to that which isn't but thrived and brought tourists and dollars to an area is where our challenges remain today in keeping these wild places, truly wild and original.
Growing up in the city people are always amazed that I have such a passion for the outdoors and I always told my mother that I felt I was born to late and in the wrong state. I know I will one day travel west and spend time in Yellowstone and hopefully try my luck at hooking and landing one of it's famed native cutthroat trout. The real question is will I come back East or will I have a new home out West. My wife knows the answer and it is one of the reasons she will not let me go alone.
This is my submission for the Trout Unlimited, Simms, the Yellowstone Park Foundation and the Outdoor Blogger Network – Blogger Tour 2012 contest.