Five scientists are surveying wolverines and other wildlife in Mongolia on behalf of the Wolverine Foundation, a Bozeman-based research organization. They spent 27 days cross-country skiing across 340 miles through two protected areas roughly the size of Yellowstone National Park. The staff offered transportation and support to the Bozeman group during their expedition. In turn, Bozeman scientists provided the park with data they collected.
But while the group from Montana was cross-country skiing across the Ulaan Taiga and Tengis-Shishged national parks in the Darhad region, they found that park rangers there were lacking key resources. The rangers are only able to travel by horse or motorcycle to patrol the parks, which makes travelling in deep snow impossible.
In response, the Bozeman group is raising money to buy the park rangers 35 pairs of backcountry skis. Next Friday, the group will hold a fundraiser for the project and give a presentation about the expedition. The event will include a raffle for prizes from Mystery Ranch Backpacks and Duckworth. The group raising money will buy skis from the company Altai, which is offering them at a discounted price. The equipment is designed to look like traditional skis that were once used in China. People in Central Asia began skiing centuries ago, but the sport’s popularity has waned in Mongolia.
Ulaan Taiga and Tengis-Shishged national parks are relatively new, having been created in 2012. They are strictly protected and not open to tourists. The limited staff works hard to stave off poachers and illegal miners but can’t monitor the places where snow prevents horse and motorcycle travel.