On my way down from Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park in January, I spotted this Cascade Red Fox along the side of the road in the snow and pulled off in the adjacent pullout to snap her picture, and then to chase her away. Red foxes like this one have become a bit of a pest in the park, begging for food and walking out into the roadway to stop cars, leading to several near-misses and near-accidents as people swerve to avoid them, and several fox fatalities over recent years. And of course encountering a tame fox begging for food is a very different experience than seeing one acting natural in its wilderness habitat. The latter is the experience we seek to preserve in a national park. Because of this, the most notious offenders like this one have been GPS-collared to track their movements and to help resource managers get a handle on how to resolve the problem. Still, you can't deny what a thrill it is to see a Cascade red fox alongside the road under any circumstances, and how beautiful it is, in full winter fur, standing in the fresh snow. Photo and commentary by Kevin Bacher.
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