I first visited Yellowstone with high school friends from Michigan, watching the black bears ramble through the campgrounds and the grizzlies root through the garbage dumps. A half dozen years later, I returned ravaged by war and dazed by a malaria attack whose onset hit me while traveling solo in the high snowfields of the Wind River Range of Wyoming. I stumbled into Yellowstone's backcountry, towards a hot spring basin, watching my temperature rise and rise until I passed out after the last reading of 105.5 degrees Fahrenheit. My burning dreams drifted in and out over a three days and I watched ghostly bears pass by my tent through a febrile fog. I woke discovering the tracks of real grizzly bears.
For 45 more years I passed the seasons watching grizzlies in Yellowstone. Now Yellowstone (the symbolic boundary) lies only 30 miles south of my house. Global warming has already devastated the high whitebark pine forests, removing the grizzlies' most important food source--pine nuts. The Yellowstone ecosystem is fragile, beautiful and needs all the protection it can get.