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Migrations

Migrations


– [Announcer] Your
support helps us bring you programs you love. Go to wyomingpbs.org, click on support and
become a sustaining member or an annual member. It’s easy and secure. Thank you. (soft music) – [Narrator] From the meadows
of Grand Teton National Park, over the craggy Gros
Ventre mountains, into the Green River Valley and across the high
sagebrush plains to the Red Desert. For thousands of years, the North American
Pronghorn has made this extraordinary migration. – The scale of this
pronghorn migration is is equivalent or
exceeds any other thing in the Lower 48
contiguous state. – [Narrator] And there are
other migrating species, who share the corridor, (soft music) including some fairly
recent arrivals, ranchers and cattle, tourists and second homers, workers and machinery to extract huge new discoveries
of natural gas. (upbeat music) – I think that you’ll
see that a lot of people are gonna move
here and live here and this is going
to be their home. And then there are gonna
people who come here to work and leave here when
the work is done. – [Narrator] The question, is there room in the
migration corridor for so many travelers? (soft music) Americans are a restless people, on the move. Our migration routes
are well-marked, often paved. And they intersect the
paths of other species, routes less easy to see. Bears, sage-grouse,
mule deer, butterflies, they all use parts of
the migration corridor that runs hundreds of miles, from the base of
the Grand Tetons, over the Gros Ventre mountains and down the Green
River as far as the High Plains Desert where
Interstate 80 crosses Wyoming. But the traveler we
think about first and the one that
travels farthest is the pronghorn, the North American antelope. (soft music) South in the fall, North in the spring, with only brief interruptions, the pronghorn has been
making this journey for 6,000 years. – Pronghorn are a unique
species worldwide. They’re not a true antelope in the sense that
we have antelope in in the African Continent. They’re the fastest North
American land animal and they run at speeds that
reach 40, 45 miles per hour. – [Narrator] And
thousands of years after they began traveling
through these ranges, people discovered the
pronghorn migration. – It was in the early 1990s that the Gaming, Fish
and BLM started mapping the migration areas and really determine where those paths are, the extent of ’em or the outsides to that
was the identification of the longest big
game migration route in the United States, that’s the pronghorn migration, from Teton National Park, up north of Jackson, down to Rock Springs, roughly 130, 150 miles, which is pretty phenomenal. – So they clearly are a
world-class migration. Historically this is has been an incredibly
important corridor, not only to wildlife but to people as well. It is still an important
migration route for both a mule deer and they’re probably
some elk still using it. – [Narrator] Kim Berger is
one of several scientists that have been
watching the pronghorn, mule deer and other species, during a period of
intense development along the migration corridor
in the 21st century. Oil and gas drilling, subdivisions, heavy
traffic and fences are just a few of the
obstacles wildlife faces on a route that was no walk
in the park to begin with. Long before there were roads, people or drill rigs, onglets were navigating
the Gros Ventre mountains between the Green River Valley and Grand Teton National Park. – The snows begin to melt, and then the pronghorn
begin to come over from the Pinedale area or some of ’em as far south as Rock Springs. They come up over
the hills here, they come down through
some narrow spots and they come up over the hills, they come over a little a little saddle right below us and drop down and then they come out
onto the face of the cliffs that are above Slide Lake, back up onto the
top of the plateaus and they work back
over the plateaus dropping through the valley’s and through the river
drainage systems and ultimately come up at the edge of
Teton National Park, and ironically when they hit the edge of Teton National Park, that’s where it opens up and you can almost imagine them arriving and saying
we’re here. (laughing) – They generally breach
Grand Teton National Park by early June, which is important because that’s about the time
that their fawns are born. So they’ll remain
there in the Park throughout the summer, raising their fawns. In around September,
October, the rut occurs and then generally in November, the animals will do
their return migration to the winter range. – [Narrator] If the
trip North is a stroll, with time to browse, the trip South is more urgent. Winter is closing in. (soft music) Through mountains, around lakes, the route grows so
narrow in places, that pronghorn and deer
have to walk single file. (soft music) But not all the bottlenecks are a matter of
topography and weather. (soft music) – What we’ve seen since the
development of the energy field, is upgrading of roads, an increase in traffic. (engine roaring) – Rural residential development, people putting up fences
around their property, constructions of roads, not all animals are
great at crossing roads. – [Narrator] But this is the
crossroads where they must. The juncture where all species, including the two-legged
variety converge. It’s known as Trappers Point. A route that’s worked for
centuries for pronghorn, works for other species too, including humans who figured out where to cross paths
with a good food source. – It is a sort of a bottleneck
between the Green River and the New Fork Rivers, it gets talked a
lot about these days in the newspapers
and on the press. It has been an antelope and
a deer migration corridor for at least 6,000 years. – And Native Americans
found the pronghorn moving through this, this constriction
and were able to more easily kill and obtain meat in this migration corridor. – We’re standing on an
archaeological site right here. The hills over here to our East contain stone circles
and cairns lines and other evidences of
prehistoric occupations. I’ve conducted
archaeological investigations up there for the Forest Service and we found
archaeological materials as old as 4,500 years old, all the way up to the top
of the Continental Divide. – They found fetal
antelope bones in in an archaeological dig, which demonstrated an
Indian Native American butcher site for pronghorn and evidently these pronghorn
were killed in the spring, which we would correspond
to those fetal bones. – [Narrator] And then in
the early 19th century, new people began to appear. (beating drums) White traders arrived, looking for Indians who
would sell beaver pelts. Then Mountain Men began
staying year-round to trap beaver themselves. They needed a place
to rendezvous. – Our Yankee and
Trooper notership was such that the Mountain
Men did not wanna leave the mountains so they
said you come to us with our needed goods, black powder, whiskey,
gun flints, led, whiskey, whatever
else they wanted and they rendezvoused here. – Well, as you sit there
and look at that massive meadow down there below you, where the rivers come together, I mean it was made to order and I mean you
could take literally hundreds and hundreds of people and thousands of head of stock and you could forage them
there for upwards to a month. And it became really from 1824 until really 1842 when
you have the first major westward movement of migration, it was really referred to
as the Great Fur Trade Road. And the interesting thing is is that it only lasts 16 years and then it’s over, it’s dead. – [Narrator] The
beaver were depleted and trappers moved North. Beaver hats fell out of fashion, but the Mountain Men
had blazed the way. – I would say, that the greatest contributions of the Fur Trade era, that period from 1825 to 1840, without any question, their greatest contribution was the development of trails. – [Narrator] And so
another migration began. The epic pioneer journey
across the continent, that would shape a new nation. – By 1842, you’re
no longer calling it the Great Fur Trade Road, it’s now been given
the Oregon Trail. By the time the rendezvous ends, you have a trail from St. Louis to the mouth of
the Columbia River, which a blind man could follow simply by follow the
ruts in the ground. – [Narrator] A major
branch of that trail, the Landor cutoff, came through the Upper Green. – It allowed the immigrants to cross the major
tributaries of the Green at higher elevation where
there was no need for ferries. So Frederick W. Lander, he was mandated by Congress
to build the first, first federally funded highway, west of the Mississippi. – [Narrator] But not
all the immigrants took that highway to the coast. Some of them looked around
the Green River Valley and figured they were home. (soft music) – Settlement came
here in the 1870s and it was all open
range at that time. It was small family ranches except for one big one. Other than that it was
just small bunches, like five, 600 head of cattle, maybe 700 at the most. – [Narrator] The
good summer grass, in the high country of the
Green River was public land. And the US Forest Service began issuing allotments
to ranchers in 1906. – This was very important
for the ranchers here, because you only have a
homestead of 160 acres, which is not enough land
for you to either grow hay to feed ’em in the winter, or to graze in the summer. – [Narrator] And so began
the annual cattle drive. From the Green River Valley to the high country of
the Wind River mountains, the cattle followed
parts of the same route traveled by pronghorn
and mule deer and ate some of the
same plentiful forage. – [Jonita] The ranchers, even ran their cattle
as far south as Colorado in the winter, and then would bring
them across the desert as the snow melted so
they had water for them, and then they would bring ’em to the upper country
in the Green River. – [Narrator] The Green River
Drift is now the oldest and the longest cattle
drive in the United States, still done on hoof
and horseback, to the largest
allotment for cattle on US Forest land. Like the wildlife, the older cattle don’t
need to be guided. They know the way. – A lot of the movement
of these cattle is over a hundred miles, so in a way this is, you kinda look back in history and this is a revenant of what actually was when they drove cattle here
all the way from Texas. A lot of these old cows
will pick up and go. (cow crying) They take the younger
cattle with them, the yearlings and stuff, they’ll just, the yearlings will
trail the old cows. A lot of these old cows
have been up there for oh, six years at least and a lot of ’em 10 years, so they know the trail and a lot of ’em just pick up, take their calf and go. – We’ve learned
over a hundred years the old families used
to work together well and that doesn’t mean we
don’t have differences of opinions because we do. But over the course of time, we’ve learned that in
order to make this, the Drift work, we have to get along. But in the end we’re blood and that’s kinda the
way this group has been, we’re pretty tight and that has served us
well for a long, long time, even for over a hundred years. – [Narrator] But the
numbers of families and cattle in the
Drift are declining. Children aren’t coming back
to the Ranch after college, wolves and bears, protected by law, are preying on livestock and more and more people
who moved to the area, are living in subdivisions or building vacation
homes and fences. – [Jonita] I know a lot of
people think we ranchers are bad and we’re out just
to ruin the land but we probably care about
it more than they do, and you want it to stay there and to be in good condition. The ranches that have sold, have been subdivided and then you have house after
house after house there. – It’s a requirement of us
to maintain the integrity of that Drift because I see the large open
space ranching community areas of Upper Green
probation to be working hand-in-hand
with wildlife in terms of maintaining
viable habitat, so the alternative
to me is frightening. – Future’s a difficult
question. (laughing) I don’t know, if things keepa closin’
in like they have, the future’s gonna be
pretty short I think. – You don’t know
anybody when you go in the grocery store anymore, so we have really
lost our community. – [Narrator] And it’s
at Trappers Point that the cattle, like the pronghorn
and mule deer, have to cross a stream of modern human vehicular traffic. – It’s always been a
bit of a bottleneck for the same reason it’s
a bottleneck for the, for the game as we used
to just cross the highway. They just move
across the highway and then eventually
they built underpasses and the cattle, you know once they get used to an underpass, you know initially
it’s hard to get ’em to take an underpass but
once they get used to it, then they learn how. – [Narrator] Pronghorn
won’t use the underpass. They need open space
to watch for dangers and ranchers and
their cattle are under some of the same pressures
the pronghorn and deer are. More fences, more
subdivisions, more traffic. Those cars need gas and those homes need heat and America’s bottomless
appetite for energy has put a new challenge at the heart of the
migration corridor. (truck engine roaring) (soft music) Welcome to some of the
largest natural gas fields in North America and the world. The Jonah Field and
Pinedale Anticline, they underlie a
vast swath of public and private land
in Sublette County, on the western slope of
the Wind River mountains, which pronghorn and mule deer and other species must cross
on their annual journies. – Both the Anticline
and the Jonah Field really started a
development in the late 1990s and has
continued into the 2000s. The Jonah started off
with initial 47 wells under an environmental
assessment that was expanded through an environmental
impact statement to roughly 500 wells and then an additional
environmental impact statement for infill that now accounts
for development of up to 3200 wells in
that 30,000 acre footprint. – The Pinedale Anticline
is the second largest natural gas field in
the United States. It’s huge and in comparison six of the 10, largest natural gas fields
in the United States are located here in the Rockies. The project area is
about 190,000 acres, compared to the Jonah Field
which is about 30,000 acres. – [Narrator] The Wyoming
energy boom has quieted with the general economy, but it’s no bust. Drilling continues
in the Anticline and Jonah Fields. A group of energy
companies has proposed what’s called the Normally
Pressurized Lance, a new natural gas
field on BLM land, south of Pinedale, which would cover 141,000 acres and involve drilling
3,500 wells over a decade. There are drilling proposals
to the North as well, along the Hoback River drainage. – And for the last
60 or 70 years we’ve all known that
this gas is here but the technology
and the economics to get it out of the ground and to market, has really been developed in the mid to late 90s and early 2000s. And some of this new
fracking technology that’s come along
that has allowed us to unlock these zones
with all the gas in ’em and get that gas to market and out to consumers. – [Narrator] And after
it’s out of the ground, the gas begins
its own migration. In pipes that
sometimes run alongside the historic wildlife
migration routes. – So 50, 60 years ago, they’re weren’t pipelines
up in this country, we actually trucked
gas out of here. What you see now is
that we have pipelines that move all the gas
directly from the wellhead, out of the field. The gas goes into a
compressor facility, gets compressed and
pushed on down the line to the next compressor facility until it gets to a
processing facility and then from there
gets transported down through interstate
pipeline systems and out to end users. – [Narrator] And even when
the drill rigs are gone, the migration of natural
gas will continue. – Engineers are saying that
the average life of these wells is close to 35 to 40 years so, from the last well drilled, you’ll see production
for the next 40 years, so these pipelines will be here, they’re permanent for
the life of the field. – The pace development
in both the Jonah and the Anticline has
remained kinda constant, even with the downturn
in the economy. BLM is charged with managing not only the wildlife resources, but also the wild gas resources. Depending on who you talk to, we are doing a
better or worser job of balancing those. From an agency standpoint, I think we’re doing
a very good job of balancing those resources. – At the current
level of development, we’re not seeing any impacts
to the pronghorn population. In fact it appears
that the population’s actually been increasing
over the past few years. We’re finding that the
animals are actually habituating much
better to the presence of people and the gas
field than we thought. – I view animals as
having some of the same characteristics as people, some are fat and
some are skinny, some of ’em are shy and some of ’em are outgoing and certainly we see
all kinds of pronghorn interacting with
energy development. Here, there are some
that become very acclimated to activity and the development themselves. – And it’s also
important to keep in mind that at present even
though it looks like there’s a lot of development
in the gas field, only about 3% of all the habitat within the Pinedale Anticline has been disturbed. Now when we reach
full development, we’ll actually have
had disturbance to about 40% of the
important habitat in pronghorn winter range. – [Narrator] But there are
other species in the corridor that appear to be
feeling the impacts of energy development now. Biologists are keeping an eye, not just on pronghorn, but another long
distance traveler, mule deer which shares parts
of the migration corridor. – The area called
the Mesa is actually the north end of the
Pinedale Anticline and it’s a geographically
distinct feature in the Upper Green River Valley that’s situated between
the New Fork River on the east and the
Green River on the west. And what it is is it’s
a elevated plateau in the middle of the
Upper Green River Valley that serves as
crucial winter range for both mule deer and
pronghorn antelope. Prior to development
there were very few roads and very little access on the Mesa and the mule
deer that wintered here basically had the whole
area to themselves during the winter and could
move anywhere they wanted to. – They used the Greater
Green River Basin as their winter range, mule deer do. The animals are
declining on public lands because of oil and
gas development. – [Narrator] Biologist, Hall
Sawyer studies of mule deer in the Pinedale
Anticline suggest, – So a decade ago we
started these studies prior to large scale
oil and gas development, and 10 years later, we have 40 to 50% fewer deer. And so what that suggests is the majority of that
mule deer decline is likely due to the activities associated with oil
and gas development. People always ask well
is the mule deer decline that we’ve seen on the
Mesa because of the deer just leaving the area. The idea that deer just
moving somewhere else and that’s why we’re
seeing the decline just isn’t what’s happening. (coughs) Sorry about that, those bugs are flying
up my nose. (laughing) – [Narrator] Sawyer’s
findings may influence changes in the way the BLM and
the US Forest Service manage existing and future
oil and gas development in the area. And while the agencies suggest they are taking a
balanced approach, crucial winter range
is still being lost. – It really is just
a numbers game. X amount of acres, supports X number of deer and 10 years later we have fewer, smaller area
of winter range and so it supports a
smaller number of deer. – If they don’t have
those special places, if those places are
developed for natural gas, which is a permanent
change in that habitat, for those animals, we will see a reduction like we’ve seen this past
winter for mule deer. – [Narrator] Hall Sawyer
studies of mule deer and Kim Berger’s
studies of pronghorn, suggest the different ways, different species
adapt to disturbance. What their learning suggests that while energy
development has an impact, the stress on migration
has myriad causes and their researches
also changing the way scientists and managers
view migration. – We now recognize that big game migration routes aren’t just these conveyor belts that animals get on and move from one
seasonal range to another. Rather they’re
characterized by a series of stopover sites where animals spend most of their time
foraging and resting, connected by a series
of movement corridors, through which the animals
move very quickly. – [Narrator] Industry, which
pays for the wildlife studies, by Hall Sawyer and Kim Berger, looks for ways to
mitigate impacts while expanding
energy development. – You can see there
are little sagebrush popping up all over the place. And I might remind
you it’s fall, so nothing looks real green in October in Wyoming. It’s important I think, as we look at the
year-round drilling and year-round access here, is that reclamation is
a key to our success. Coming in, drilling
all the wells we need to drill on a pad and then aggressively
reclaiming it so that it can go back
for use for wildlife, for cattle and you know, create a place that
they come back in and use the habitat. – [Narrator] Reclaim
it for wildlife, for livestock and don’t forget, for people. The Biologist’s aren’t
studying homo sapiens in this migration corridor, but they’re here. Some of the human residents say they are suffering the
impacts of development like any other species, including air quality violations linked to energy development. – We had more in actions days a year and half ago in
the month of January than they had in Los
Angeles County, California. That’s not a healthy trend. Now that’s been worked on, they’re gonna
continuing to do that, but there is a balance. – Ozone is a highly
reactive chemical. It’s wants to go out and
find something to react with and that can be the
passageways in your airways and that could be
very irritating and ultimately very damaging. It can cause you
know severe impacts to the respiratory system, it can even raise the
problems with heart disease. It has a wide array of impacts, up to and including
increasing mortality. – [Narrator] Ozone can
develop on cold windless days, with an inversion
capping the valley and trapping stagnant air. Emissions from industrial and
other sources can’t escape and bright sunlight and
snow add to the problem. – It caused people to have increased respiratory distress. I myself had a nose bleed
for 3 days during March, during those episodes and I know four other
people who did as well. These high ozone levels
are not temporary problems. – We’ve put in
mitigation measures that have significantly
lowered our NOx emissions from our drill
rigs for instance, up to in this field our NOx
emissions have come down approximately 75%. That’s partly due to
the activity levels but also the catalyst technology that we’re installing
on our rig engines, which historically
has been our largest source of NOx in the
Pinedale Anticline. We’ve also implemented our
liquids gathering system, that’ll reduce the trucking
and has significantly but it also collects the liquids and instead of just burning
waste gas at our facilities, we can capture that
gas and turn it into a usable product verses
a waste product. – That’s great if
emissions are reduced. We clearly need to do that as a way to try and start
to get a handle on this. But the question in our mind is, is it enough? They need to start to talk about getting emissions to a level where the standard
is not violated, not just reducing emissions. – We continue to work
to perfect a model, that help us to predict
what the ozone will do along with any weather
effects that come into play. We’re also working very
closely with Industry to see what we can do
on a voluntary basis, as well as what
we can do with our regulations that are
currently in place and our policy that
we have in place and how maybe we can
make some changes there, if necessary. – [Narrator] But while
recent energy production is using the new technology, older fields in the
area remain a problem, and there are other sources, even as far away as the
I-80 corridor far south. – You know it’s
conceivable that there are plenty of other undiscovered
mineral resources in the county and you know we know
there’s another field that’s gonna be developed south
and east of the Jonah Field. You know I’m kind of a guy that’s been in favor of a
lot of mineral development but you worry that we’ll become you know that place where we produce all that natural gas and that’s all that is left. – [Narrator] It’s
not the natural gas but the natural world
that attracted people to this country before the boom. (soft music) Some come to work, some come to vacation, some come to hunt in the fall and some come to wait
on tables in the summer. All of them are struck
by the natural beauty. Some migrate back and forth, some stay. – I came through here
every two weeks one summer while I was doing
consulting for Dude Ranches, one in Aspen and one in Jackson and so I cam through and
I’d always stay in Pinedale, I’d always take a quick
little day hike where I could and just really loved the area. And then just a
couple of years ago when I was in between
other projects, I saw the opportunity, there was a job
posted in Pinedale. I was able to find a job
in a beautiful community that I had identified
10, 12 years before as I place I’d like to live. And I think a lot
of folks are like me in that regard. (soft music) This is a community
that has always relied on tourism. In the early years it
was hunting outfitting and people that would come
and recreate in our mountains. – Everybody has their idea
of what Pinedale should be. You know the people that
have lived here since 1940, part of them want it to
be like it was in 1940 and I don’t blame them for that, you know because I
came here 17 years ago and I’ve seen changes. I would like it to go back
the way it was 17 years ago, but that’s not gonna happen. – [Narrator] Even after
the boom slowed down a bit, Pinedale remains a
changed community. – You have to understand
how quickly this came. We were kinda caught behind
the eight ball, you know. Everybody knew the
gas was out there, they knew it was there
when Axon left in the 80s, they just didn’t
know how to get it and literally overnight
they found out how to get it and Pinedale just opened up. – We’ve got a much
busier street, the street you can’t
make a left-hand turn on Pine Street right now, don’t even try. When I come into town, I make all my right-hand
appointments and then go down and turn around and
come back down the street. – I find there’s always been
a desirable place to live so I think we’re seeing you know a continued growth with people that are retired, second homes, summer homes, that sorta thing. – [Narrator] Scott
Williams and his family bought an interest in a
ranch north of Pinedale, 5 years ago. – What struck us about
this was just the spectacular open spaces, it is a sense of history. This ranch does
have history to it and it’s part of that
we’ve been involved in preserving that. It’s also been
something that for us just feels more like Wyoming than over in Jackson. It feels more open, it feels, the people
are more genuine and we’ve enjoyed being
over here a lot more. – The fact is that
those second homes or those ranches that
have been purchased and continue to
operate have helped to preserve in many respects the ranching way of
life in Sublette County. Absentee owners tend to have the cash to support
a ranch operation over the long term
and it’s been official to be able to
operate it that way. – This ranch has been
actually not in cattle for the last dozen years and is run largely
now for fishing, for the benefit of fishing, because we’re right
on the Green River. We also take hay off and have horses
here in the winter. – There are going to be
and have been already casualties of the boom. There are a number of folks that have their
houses on the market, even some in some fairly
remote places up the Green who have just said
the pace is not what we came here for and it’s just too much and
we’re very uncomfortable and we’re going go try
to find somewhere else that’s quieter. Given the nature of today, I’m not quite sure
where that will be. – [Narrator] And
there was another class of people moving in, trying to find their
own somewhere else. These were migrants who wanted just a little peace of paradise and there were landowners
who felt it was their right to cash in. – What we do see are
a lot of zone changes from agricultural which is
one dwelling unit per 35 acres to say 5 or 10 acre density and I guess you
could characterize
those as ranch heads. Sublette County is
still one of the more rural county’s in the state and I think there’s
a danger to lose that with more and more people
coming to the county, unless we plan very carefully, obviously a pretty
conservative county and there still is a lot of the of the feeling and sense that it’s my property, I should be able to do
what I want with it. – [Narrator] Even when
that means new barriers to wildlife migration. – Certainly development, both rural, residential,
urban residential and industrial development
creates more fences. Right now we’ve seen
pronghorn adapt on that West Pinedale migration. They move through that
country very much differently than they did 20 years ago. Right now with the
commercial developments that are occurring on
the west end of Pinedale and the soon to fill in
residential development, I expect to lose that
West Pinedale pronghorn migration through there. – [Narrator] Ironically,
one of the buildings belongs to the agency that
manages the public lands where pronghorn migrate. – The current office location as well as a number of hotels and the expansion
of the Pinedale city
limits to the West, has fallen on portion of a
minor pronghorn migration route from the Soda Lake
area down onto the Mesa and south into the
main corridor system. It is not on the
primary migration route of the pronghorn from Teton
Park to the Rock Spring’s area. There are gaps through the area that allow for migration between here and the motel
just to the west of us and a lot do migrate
through there yet. They also are moving
a little farther west where there’s a
little more open area. – [Narrator] Even
on Main Street, where you think the retail
merchants would be cheering, the influx of people
has caused heartburn. – With any type of boom, your going to have growing pains and I mean this is
history with the gold rushes and
the silver rushes back in you know
the prior century. It always took a long time for everything else to catch up. The infrastructure
of the housing, you know even as far as
going to a restaurant and trying to get a meal. – It was a pretty easy
decision for a lot of people when they’re put to the test of well do you wanna
dishes for $8.50 an hour or do you wanna drive a truck in the pad for $21.00 an hour? We’re seeing a lot
of immigrant workers, we have a lot of
Mexican immigrants as well as Eastern
European, Slov’s. Last year up at the ski resort, outside of town we had
a Nepalese working here so we’re seeing a
lot of different, I guess we may be losing
economic diversity but the town is
certainly experiencing cultural diversity
because we have a lot of different people
from different place moving into Pinedale, to do the work that
locals used to do. – [Narrator] So the
need for low-wage labor drives another
form of migration. From all over the world, young people come to work
here in the service industry. – I am a migrant who came
from Europe to this country out of my inner
resources to experience this freedom that we have
here in the United States. And because probably of that, I’m very open to hire
in the summertime, students from around the world and this year we are
expecting in two days a couple of people
from Aba, Siberia in Eastern Russia. They have never
left Russia before, their English is sufficient
for being in our business and I just feel like
for young people to give them a real
chance to get to know another culture
and to support them and integrate them
into our teamwork here. – [Narrator] Where
they make beds mostly for people other than tourists, with the energy boom and
construction projects, sometimes there’s
no place to put the traditional crowd
of hunters, hikers and site seers. – The Outfitters
specifically feel the crunch because they’re aren’t
motel rooms easily available for their visitors to stay in. Fishing guides especially
because those folks that hire a fishing
guide are used to staying in some nice
accommodations along the way, they’re feeling the impacts. – [Narrator] Tourism
and agriculture are the historic economic
staples of the community, but a few entrepreneurs
actually make things here. Over 20 years, Jeff Goltz
built a small business manufacturing useful stuff for people working outdoors, including energy workers. – One of the reasons I
started the business is as I told you before, people got hungry in
the wintertime here. Summer employment was
very easy to obtain but wintertime
employment was not. So I started my own business
so that I could have a steady year-round income. It was a time that people
were just glad to have any job that created a paycheck. – [Narrator] The energy
boom changed that. – And there are so many
very high paying jobs, especially out in
the gas fields, but the average wages
have gone up half again or even doubled in all
other types of businesses here in town, so I started to see
employees start to dwindle and less people coming in. I ran ads at times for months
without a single applicant, whereas prior to six years ago, I didn’t have to
advertise for help, people would just
come in my door. Where a person can
quit a job at noon and have another
job by 1:00 p.m., it’s just that easy. People are really
desperate for help. – Young kids, that may not be always the case, because if a better opportunity
comes around the corner, they’re gone. – It creates heartache
and heartburn and you know for a lot of
people who’ve grown up here and lived here all their lives, it creates, it can create some
division in the community, among members who are
prospering from it and among members who think
they’re being negatively impacted from it. – [Narrator] Jeff Goltz
has sold his business and is migrating out of state and all those workers
in the energy fields, well, many of them
travel back and forth from state to state too. (soft music) An oil field worker
goes where the play is and that means being
away from home a lot if there even is a home. It can mean time
in the Middle East or Africa or on a
deep drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. It can mean living in
a man camp in Wyoming for weeks at a time. – I work in the Jonah Field, in Boulder, Wyoming. We haul water for
the frac process that they do to get the
gas out of the ground. We work 12 hour shift. Our day starts at 4:00
a.m. in the morning. Our shift schedule
is seven days on, seven days off. That’s typical for our guys. I live in Rigby, Idaho and it’s roughly three
hours from Pinedale, in the summertime, three and half, four
hours in the wintertime. – There’s the people that
work the shifts on the rigs that come in and work 12 days on or 20 days on, and then five or 10 days off. And a lot of those
people live in the camps and when their days
off come around, they go back to
Tulsa or to Denver or to Louisiana where
they might be from. – But we know that there
are gonna be a lot of people who just come here to work while the field is
being developed. There are people who have
spent their entire life doing that, they kind of follow that development
as it’s occurring wherever it’s occurring. – There is a perceived image from people that don’t
work in the industry. You know a Roughneck
is a person who is is described like the
word, roughneck you know, they’re a rough group of people. What you’ll find out
here is just your average ordinary people, you’re still gonna
have the weak links or the bad apple but
for the most part these are you know just
average ordinary people trying to make a living
for their families, for them and to get by. You’re driving back and forth, you are (truck engine revving) trying to make that balance. What I’ve found with this job is is the seven days
that you have off, you get more quality
time with your family than you would working
every day nine to five. – I have people that are
transient through the community, the mom or the
dad comes and work but the rest of the
family stays back home, if someone can’t bring
their family with ’em, if dad is working
in the gas field and he can’t bring
mom and the kids, then mom can’t have
a part-time job or volunteer for the PTA or serve on the
planning zone at work. We’ll never get ’em all because that’s sort of the
nature of a transient workforce, but we need to get as many
of them here as we can. – And one of the
goals of how we would like to develop this field, is that we don’t create
all these booms and busts, but that we have a
continuous, steady operation and workforce and it’s not this everybody’s
here and everybody’s gone kind of scenario. And I think you’ll see
that a lot of people are gonna move
here and live here and this is going
to be their home. – With this economic
boom comes great programs for the community. We have a new Aquatic Center that we’re building that’ll
serve this community for years to come. The County does good
things recreationally with the money that
they get from Industry. New ice hockey rink, new sporting clays range, shooting ranges,
skateboard parks, a lot of development within
the community itself, not just infrastructure
but recreationally as well. We’ve got a master
plan for a bike path that’s gonna put over
37 miles of paved four-foot wide bike
paths in this community. We will be using that
for years to come. – Our roads, our clinics,
our emergency management have all seen
increased workloads and increased crime,
increased traffic deaths are an unfortunate
consequence of this influx. There are a few that do stay and do contribute
to the community but most move on and so they don’t have a connection to our community and so when they bring different
kinds of values, they’re not always welcome. – And that’s what’s going on
with this oil and gas boom, is you know the gas boom is you know you’re
here to make money, you gotta do it, you
gotta do it fast, you know and everybody
is just geared. (soft music) – [Narrator] People can live
in almost any habitat on earth. They can clothe and shelter
themselves against the elements, and use their intelligence to convert natural
resources into warmth and fuel to travel. For the pronghorn
and other wildlife, adjustment is harder. The habitat where
they live is limited and when man comes calling
for the resources there, it may disrupt
habits of survival that have been hardwired
for thousands of years. (soft music) – Migration is absolutely an imperal phenomenon
around the world. – The reason we have
the wildlife resource left in Sublette County, is because historically
it hasn’t been a place where lots of people live or lots of people visited. The key to keeping
migrations going is to having lots of choices and not turning a
migration corridor into a migration
corridor bottleneck. Let’s keep our wide spaces wide. – [Narrator] Easier
said than done. (soft music) Mankind pushes in
from all sides. With its massive energy needs, its roads and buildings, its pollution issues and the ever increasing
human population. But also, with a sincere
desire to protect and preserve wildlife. Sometimes ironically, using some of the same tools that have compromised
wildlife habitat. – WYDOT’s been proactive and is in the
process of installing a series of underpasses
and overpasses to move those animals
underneath or over the highway, in an effort to both reduce
wildlife vehicle collisions so that that improves
motorist safety but it also obviously
reduces mortality to wildlife. – It’s our
responsibility to lookout for the safety of
the travelling public and also it’s a
human health issue but also I think we’re
all citizens of the state and have an interest in
the wildlife as well. – [Narrator] And
another simple approach. Removing the old
and new impediments, like fences that crisscross
the migration path. – All the band and
barbed wire fences are extremely
harmful to wildlife. Some go through
them and they cut and they go off. And when our dogs go through
them and they get cut, we take them to the veterinarian and the veterinarian
repairs them, but the wildlife doesn’t
have that option. So some of ’em are cut up, once in awhile they
get hung up in it and an animal that gets
hung up in the fence will stay there until it dies. It just hangs there and it might be by one leg and of course their
predator comes along, the predator can just eat it while it’s there by one leg or it can hang there
until it starves to death or dies from thirst or
whatever happens to it, bleeds to death
depending on the injury. – Deer jump the fence, pronghorn can learn
to jump a fence but they’re more
naturally inclined to crawl under a fence. So when we deal
with fencing issues and what can we do to help
with pronghorn migration in this country, we look for minimum
bottom height of wires. – But the ranching
community has always been in-tuned with the
wildlife community. They understand that
their fences are necessary for their operations
but in many cases can provide some
impediment to those animals as they move between A and B and they see this
project as an opportunity for them to maintain
good fences, that allow the animals
to move through them, so they don’t impede
that migration. We’ve gotten inventories of
all of the existing fences within the migration
routes we’ve worked on and we understand that there are anywhere from a hundred
or so miles of fence in that pronghorn
migration route, 200 or so miles of fence in that mule deer migration route. – All of the exterior
fencing here is in the process of
being retrofitted to be migration friendly,
both for pronghorns but also for moose
and deer as well. – [Narrator] Advances
in energy exploration and extraction methods, such as directional drilling that allow energy
companies to cluster wells on a single site, also help reduce conflicts. – This location is
approximately 18 acres in size, with the 26 wells, that’s less than .7 acres
of disturbance per well, in comparison to
if we’d had drilled individual vertical
wells within this mile diameter of this pad, you’d have 26
five-acre disturbances. – [Narrator] And they’re
are regulatory tools in the hands of
public land managers who oversee large swaths
of the migration route and regulate the energy
development occurring there. Scientific research
suggests new approaches that might help
antelope, mule deer and other migrators. – We’ve seen in bird
conservation that essentially their
conservation strategy is to protect or conserve a
series of stopover sites and that’s been an effective strategy globally
for migratory birds and given now what we know
about big game stopovers it really begs the question, could that be an effective
conservation strategy or model for big game as well, ’cause currently we
really don’t have one. – [Narrator] And finally, there are some who dream that Wyoming could break
trail for a new approach to conservation of
wildlife habitat. – So Wyoming actually
has a long history of being a leader in
wildlife management. They have the
first national park which was Yellowstone
National Park. They have the first
national forest which was just shown and we also have the
first national monument. So what we’re suggesting
is that Wyoming should take the lead with the first nationally
protected migration corridor. – [Narrator] Higher
in the mountains, on public lands along the route, teams of young
and old volunteers work to clear fences. – One of the things that’s
really neat about this process or I think as people
find so satisfying and this is gonna sound strange, but at the end of the day, you walk away from this and your legacy is nothing. (soft music) – I guess my migration
to this industry is it’s a fairly long story. I didn’t never
intend to be here, you know when you’re
growing up as a kid you intend, you
got certain dreams and aspirations
that you wanna do. I spent 12 years
in law enforcement, before that I was a logger and then I went into
long-haul trucking. (soft music) – I’m 21 years in Pinedale
with the BLM in Pinedale. I came to Pinedale from
Kemmerer from Rock Springs, prior to that I
worked for two years in the state of Wyoming as
a consulting archaeologist and before that I worked
for two years in Honduras for the Honduran government working in the ruins of Copan and prior to that
I worked five years in Yucatan for the
Mexican government doing the archaeological
atlas of Yucatan project. (soft music) – My job does take me to
a lot of different places around the world. We spend a lot of time
in the Upper Green during the winter months. In the summer I typically
travel all the way to Mongolia where we are studying another, well an endangered antelope, which is actually quite
similar to the pronghorn. (soft music) – I was born in
Cincinnati, Ohio, a small suburb of
Cincinnati, Ohio and I grew up there until
I was in junior high at which time my family
moved from Cincinnati to Albuquerque, New Mexico and I was not very happy about moving out west, but by the time we got
to Amarillo, Texas, I was taken, I was more and more you know enamored of the West and certainly by the time
we got to Albuquerque with the mountains and deserts, I was totally swept up in it and I had moved to the West and become a Westerner. (soft music) – My migration started in
the Salt Creek oil field north of Casper. I graduated from a
Midwest high school, migrated to Casper to
attend Casper college and then transferred
or migrated if you will to Missoula, Montana to
finish my college education at the University of Montana. From there I transferred
to my first BLM job in Kremmling, Colorado and my final migration
was from Kremmling in 1979 to Pinedale. It’s an area that
I fall in love with and intend to stay here. (soft music)

1 thought on “Migrations”

  1. PBS twists the truth for their own liberal agenda, the migration path goes right through my backyard and the animals get more protection than any other place on earth. That Western Horizon lady is a perfect example of the deception from the left.

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