What do you do with frozen cows?
Did you read the Washington Post article “Forest Service considering explosives to get rid of frozen cows in Colorado mountain cabin“? Am I the only person who did a double-take? (FYI: The Huffington Post and as far away as the UK, the story has been published!)
Okay, those cows were discovered in an old Gunnison National Forest guard station located in a Wilderness area back in March and the problem is just now being publicly discussed. I like the idea that the Forest Service might be looking for inputs from the public. Afterall, the more ideas suggested, the great the chance of finding a solution. Hope that is true the Forest Service is open to inputs and someone at the forest is listening. The few comments posted to the Washington Post’s article I read weren’t terribly helpful but maybe something useful is burden there.
Part of the problem is that these cows dead in a Wilderness area. Granted, cows aren’t particularly bright but how would a cow know they had entered an area with restrictions. These restrictions were imposed by the Congress and say you can take any mechanical devices in there. This means, things like wheelbarrow and bicycles aren’t permitted. So, the forest folks probably can’t use chainsaws to reduce the dead cows to more manageable size pieces (this is a common solution used in Alaska when frozen dead moose need to be removed).
One solution suggested in the article was burning down the cabin which strikes me as a waste of a historic structure and protein. Another solution, as stated in the articles title, is to blow the carcasses up but that would also destroy the cabin and probably some of the surrounding landscape.
A concern expressed by the author was that the decomposing cows would contaminate a nearby spring. But what happens when some elk dies, for whatever reason, somewhere in a wilderness? Does the Forest Service dispose of that carcass or do they let Mother Nature do what she does so well? Why can’t we just leave well enough alone and provide the wildlife with a springtime feast? Imagine the delight of some bear at finding this cache. Of course my view might be overly simple but . . .
Perhaps what should be done in the future is a requirement that all cattle allowed to roam our national forests be “LoJacked.”
This entry was posted on Friday, April 20th, 2012 at 5:47 am and is filed under conservation, Forest Service, National Forest, national forests, national grasslands. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.