This winter so far has been an exceptionally mild one with a 37.5 per cent decrease in the normal amount of precipitation during the past three months. This lack of precipitation is very noticeable in the snow depths throughout the Park which registers a decrease of approximately the same per cent. However, there is ample snow at both Longmire and Paradise Valley for winter sports activities. The lowest temperature registered during the month at Park Headquarters was 16 degrees, while usually zero weather is recorded at least once.
Wild life's ease of existence depends to a large extent on weather conditions, especially during the winter. This fact was evidenced by the lateness hibernating animals took to their dens. One small black bear known as "Yale Jr.", for the perfect white latter "Y" on his chest and the "Jr." because of a large black bear being similarly marked, stayed out long enough to greet the new year. Each winter a large number of deer are forced out of the reservation by snow in order to find food, but so far this season most of them still remain within the Park's Boundary and are fat and in good condition. Racoons, foxes, coyotes, and mountain goats, along with the rest of our animal residents, are also having a comparatively easy time keeping their stomachs filled.
While relatively high temperatures and lack of snow is a decided advantage to the animals, if these conditions continue throughout the remainder of the winter, fire hazards to Park timber will be greatly increased during the coming summer.
John M. Davis,
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