Karsten is on leave from his jobs as a park warden and contract wildlife biologist in Banff National Park, Canada. He graduated from the University of Calgary with a degree in ecology 7 years ago.
Last summer Karsten walked 2000 of the 3400 km Y2Y Hike. Starting in Mammoth, WY in Yellowstone National Park in June 1998, he raced winter into Jasper, Alberta in October. The previous four summers, he patrolled Banff's backcountry by horseback. Winters he works as an independent biologist studying the movements of wolves, lynx and cougars around towns, parking and ski areas, and roads in the Rockies.
A work exchange in South Africa in 1996 gave Karsten a glimpse into the possible future for wildlife here in North America. Working with a wildlife veterinarian, Karsten helped capture and transport lions, cheetahs and wild dogs from one small, isolated reserve to another. The program is part of a desperate effort to repopulate isolated parks devastated by disease and one that scientists hope will stave off the dangers of inbreeding in the small, isolated wildlife populations. Karsten believes public education and good planning in the Rocky Mountains will help save wide-ranging animals like the grizzly bear presentations about Y2Y in 40 communities in Wyoming, Montana, Alberta and British Columbia. The response - from ranchers, government, hunters, the public and some industry - has been overwhelmingly positive.
Since pausing in Jasper last fall, Heuer's last 3 months have been comparatively sedentary: writing reports and proposals, drying food and pouring over maps for the second section of the trip. "It's time to move beyond the lines on the maps, beyond the promises typed on computer screens and back into the wilds and community halls that typify this project," said a restless Heuer.