Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"...privatizing not only the public land behind the gate,
but also our cherished public wildlife,
and thatís wrong
- John Gibson

As some of you may have noticed, I have restructured the content into a geographical format, rather than just Public Lands or Public Wildlife because some issues fit into both. It also helps to show that these issue are right here in our yards - our backyards, our front yards, our neighbors yards. This is where we live, where we recreate, where we do business. Montana, its mountains, rivers, wildlife, are but a few of the things that make it so frickin awesome and need to be fought for, so I felt that needed to be a focus.

Additionally, I receive comments from all the newsletters, many with some great comments, thoughts, ideas or just plain passion. I decided to share some/parts of those with permission of course. So I created a section at the bottom - Comments From EMWH Subscribers. Thank you.

Bills aimed at assuring access to public lands by Karl Puckett
"Landowners who illegally gate roads would face stiffer fines and need to show proof of ownership before blocking access under bills introduced in the Montana Legislature... A disputed road would have to remain open until itís proven to be a private road... For years, Gibson said, Montana hunters, anglers and others or recreate on public land have had to fight battles to reopen gated public roads. The bills are meant to address the issue so the public can enjoy public lands, he said."

FWP group develops hunter-ethics campaign by Laura Lundquist
"A citizenís group hopes to reduce hunting conflicts by encouraging better behavior... 'Social approval drives ethics. We canít change values, but we can maybe change behavior,' Sinay said."

A shamless plug for Montana ethical, conservation hunter author Jim Posewitz book - Beyond Fair Chase

Control or collaborate? Legislators push forward with federal land transfer efforts by Laura Lundquist
" 'Itís more waste of Montanansí money,' said Land Tawney, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers executive director. 'Theyíve not come up with a plan on how theyíd manage public lands in Montana. If we go with her path, it means more taxes and less access. They havenít talked to economists about how this might affect Montanaís $6 billion outdoor industry.'

Worried that the effects would be costly, Business for Montana Outdoors, which represents more than 100 business owners, opposes federal land transfer. 'The state should find more productive ways to work with our federal government rather than make a colossal mistake, which would threaten emerging markets that rely on Montanaís true competitive advantage in the presence and access to our public lands,' BMO said in a statement."

Study: Bison donít compete much with cattle for grass by Laura Lunquist
"Ranchers fear bison for two main reasons: disease and grazing competition. But a new study shows that bison arenít the competitors they would seem to be... Rabbits didnít really factor into the equation for the ranchers. But they should have... Over two years, Ranglack found that cattle consumed about half of the grass while bison ate about 13 percent. But rabbits ate more than a third of the vegetation. Part of the reason is because Utah ranchers and hunters have coyote extermination programs to preserve young livestock and game animals. Without coyotes to eat the rabbits, the rabbit populations cycle, getting so big that they crash due to a lack of food and then rebounding."

Glacier Country
Kootenai Forest: Coalition doesn't speak for all
"At best itís clear that the Stakeholders do not adequately represent the interests of many conservation and environmental organizations. Whatís more likely is that they are a bit too eager to push logging projects to be a truly balanced and broad based coalition.

This organization may claim to speak for all forest stakeholders, but skepticism is clearly in order here. After all, the ďgroupĒ that supports the Montanore Mine was formed and is run by company employees and consultants. Fortunately, they were publicly shamed years ago and have zero credibility.

As for the courts, sometimes they are the only option for holding government officials accountable. AWR is fond of saying that if the agencies want to stop being sued, they should quit breaking the law. Itís hard to find fault with this argument."

Southwest Montana
Comments sought on Tendoy bighorn proposals
FWP Comment page

Comments are due Jan. 26 for the commission to consider final action on Feb. 12

Bighorn sheep moved in Madison Range
"Returning wild sheep to the mid-Madison Range is just one goal of this operation several years in the making. Biologist Julie Cunningham says reintroducing bighorn sheep has great potential to increase overall herd size, increase biodiversity and provide more recreational opportunities in the future for hunters and viewers. 'This is an exciting project because it represents collaboration between FWP, landowners, sportsmen, other agencies and university. Everyone has been so positive,' Cunningham said."

Yellowstone Country
New deal preserves public access in Big Sky area
EMWH FS 166B documentation page. In late summer of 2013 Rick Reese and Frank Culver provided documents to Laura Lundquist who wrote up an article. Rob Gregoire and I had gone up to the FS 166B road to document what was going on with Stan Schlueters Big Sky home built right on the FS 166B road, cutting off public and Forest Service access. I took photos and measurements, got easement documents from the courthouse making them available to the public and to the Public Lands/Water Access Association. The publics calls and emails expressing concern over lost access were heard and the previous land proposal was dropped. Schueter had to restore access. This has now been achieved. Though it does not address the illegality of his building his house on the road in the first place, the public becoming aware at the later date, through a number of public efforts, we at least have got access restored.

Gallatin National Forest North Hebgen Multiple Resource Project
Please take a look at the links/maps where the burning and logging is being proposed. This is an ecologically sensitive area in a wildlife corridor next to a Whitebark Pine Treatment Area and the Cabin Creek Wildlife Management Area, south of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area. There are a number of wildlife species that use this habitat - elk, grizzly bear, bighorn sheep, gray wolf, deer, moose, lynx, wolverine and seasonally the southern portion bison. "The proposal includes an estimated 4600 acres of commercial harvest, 2000 acres of small tree treatments and 1600 ares of prescribed burning. Approximately 25 miles of temporary road would be constructed for implementation."

Public comments are due by February 10, 2015 -† comments-northern-gallatin@fs.fed.us

Is this really wildlife management here in Montana?
More Yellowstone Bison sent to slaughter
"Since Wednesday an estimated 200 of America's last wild, migratory buffalo have been crammed into tribal stock trailers at Yellowstone National Park's Stephens Creek bison trap. The bison have been taken to tribal slaughter facilities by tribal entities affiliated with the controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). The two tribal affiliates shipping bison to slaughter for the second year in a row are the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the federally chartered InterTribal Buffalo Council.

An estimated 250 wild bison have so far been captured inside Yellowstone's trap since last Thursday. Fifty-five buffalo remain inside the trap and will likely be sent to slaughter on Monday morning."

EMWH documentation on using Treaty Hunts to target bison in a few acre area of a bottle necked wildlife corridor just as they cross out of the YNP.

EMWH information on the Tribal Ship to Slaughter

Bison removal draws protests

Bighorn die-off near Gardiner climbs to 30 by Brett French
"About 30 bighorn sheep ó roughly one-third of two herds that live in the Gardiner area ó have died this winter, probably from an outbreak of pneumonia...As far as Loveless knows, this is the first time the Gardiner-area sheep have been infected and died. The bacteria that leads to the death of bighorns is common in domestic sheep and goats. Close contact between the animals can lead to infection in bighorn sheep."

Central Montana
BLM willing to consider controversial Missouri Breaks proposal by Brett French
"A controversial land exchange between billionaire Texas brothers Dan and Farris Wilks and the Bureau of Land Management that was shot down last year has come back to life.

Billings Bullwhacker Access Meeting Audio - 27:18:
"As Mike mentioned we've got the 3 alternatives. We got the east side, we got the west side, we have No Action and we are considering No Alternative of Trails. I think thats a non motorized what they've suggested. And the other one is to entertain a land exchange. Again, not necessarily the same one that came up, but if we go to that alternative, we need something that will work. Thats why Im saying we need to get opinions together. Blaine County, Fergus County, the ranchers, the folks may call it collaboration. It can work, but it takes a lot of effort. So we're willing to entertain that exchange thing again and it might well be one of the alternatives. Is that fair, Mike?" - BLM Stan Benes

I emailed BLM on Jan. 20th asking if a Durfee Hills land exchange can even be entertained as the Durfees are still being surveyed and under investigation for trespass, per the Realty Trespass Handbook. I have yet to receive an answer to this question.

BTW, I have set up an UPDATE link to the Wilks Fence Durfee Hills Interactive Map (upper right corner), so that the public can now be kept up to date on the status.

Don't sacrifice Smith River to copper mining
by Bob Ream
While Iím not opposed to mining, and recognize the necessity of metals for our modern society, I am absolutely opposed to permitting a temporary mining project that sacrifices the livelihoods, way of life, clean water and natural wonders of the Smith River. I ask the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and Gov. Steve Bullock, to be exceedingly cautious on any decisions that would allow this project to move forward.

Missouri River Country
Officials issue fish-consumption advisory for Yellowstone River
"Fish could also become polluted from the things they eat, such as crawfish and worms that may also accumulate petroleum compounds. Particularly worrisome are the effects on species such as the paddlefish and the endangered pallid sturgeon. Biologists have tagged several pallid sturgeon which allow them to study how they behave in response to the oil spill, Gibson noted.

The spillís effects could endanger larger species who live in the river or feed on the fish, such as beavers, otters, minx and raptors. Although the ice will prevent these predators from being affected immediately, they will return quickly once the ice begins to thaw, Gibson said."

Southeast Montana
Rosendale critical of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for delay in diversion system construction
"To accommodate the endangered pallid sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act, and to maintain irrigation to area farms, a new concrete weir and fish bypass design has been proposed, but not yet approved."
Pallid Sturgeon Passage and Entrainment Project information

What is the cost and the effects to our Public and our Public Trust?

Another Yellowstone River oil spill
"On July 1, 2011, an ExxonMobil pipeline also running beneath the Yellowstone†ruptured†near Laurel, Montana, vomiting 63,000 gallons of crude oil into the river. Already at flood stage, it flushed hydrocarbon slicks into riparian habitat and across nearby agricultural fields."

Exxon gets $1 million penalty for Yellowstone River spill

Bison restoration catching on in Colorado
Bringing the West's wild bison back from the brink

Bringing the wild bison back to Colorado would result in myriad ecological, economic and cultural benefits. As a keystone prairie species, bison would rejuvenate our rangelands. Their hooves aerate the soil, their fur and scat spread seeds, and their bones and bodies provide nutrients for the ground and prairie scavengers. Their wallows ó the mud pits they create when they bathe and drink ó fill with water and sustain entire ecosystems of their own.

Economically, restoring bison to the wild is good business. Areas with wild bison herds attract campers, hikers, and wildlife enthusiasts. In Utah, bison are managed as big game. The state takes thousands of applications every year for just a handful of actual bison-hunting licenses, generating over $100,000 annually in fees alone. This figure does not include the other economic benefits brought by hunters visiting the state. Adding a big game species in Colorado would boost tourism and outdoor recreation in a state already known for its hunting opportunities and wildlife. This revenue would help offset the costs of managing the herd."

Is this how we want our wildlife treated? Like Livestock, unnaturally congregated and breeding disease?
10,000 elk are fed to protect 700 cows by Lloyd Dorsey (not his title)
"The mandate of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to manage for healthy wildlife and healthy habitat. If so, why keep thousands of elk densely concentrated for months during the winter in fetid conditions? Such conditions make them sick and prone to become sicker. The elk actually seem to want to roam free. Refuge personnel admit feeding is not to stave off starvation but to keep elk from getting into haystacks and mingling with livestock.

Nowaday there are approximately 700 or so cattle spending the winter in the Jackson Hole area north, northeast and west of town. Refuge officials imply that they donít want elk to mingle with livestock. Thus they and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department at the three feedgrounds in the Gros Ventre Valley combine to feed approximately 10,000 elk to keep them away from 700 cows and some horses."

Ex-Interior Head: Land Grab Puts Utah at Odds With Industry
" 'Our public land heritage really is under attack,' said Babbitt, speaking at a Conservation Alliance event. 'We've really got a crowd of uninformed, misguided politicians who are attempting to dismantle or abolish public lands and the agencies that administer them.'

Babbitt's remarks are the latest indication Utah's political posturing on the issue could affect its relationship with the outdoor recreation industry, which supports the retailer show that brings an estimated $40 million in economic benefits to the state each year."

Wyoming grazing dispute threatens bighorn sheep
"Instead, a few years ago he started running domestic sheep on his ranch. The problem is that Robbinsí ranch is smack dab in the middle of prime habitat for 600 to 800 bighorns, and those sheep intermingle with even more herds. Itís well established that bighorn sheep can catch pneumonia from domestic sheep ó often with fatal consequences for adults and newborns."

"Kathryn, just want to let you know that I love EMWH and all the hard work you do, keep it up!!† I look forward to reading every email you send and couldn't agree with you more on pretty much every issue... These forces, whose ignorant pursuit of a land transfer to the state, truly only want the eventual transfer to wealthy private individuals, mining companies, loggers, ranchers and others who will immediately and without remorse, shut off our access to these lands forever and promptly destroy them in their own unique ways.† They will never discuss that though, they will never talk about transfer to private individuals but make no mistake, this is their ultimate goal.† The destruction and death of the tourism industry in this state along with denial of access will prove disastrous for all.† Families, children, and elderly citizens that rely on income from this industry will no longer be able to support themselves nor will any money generated from tourism be available to Montana and Montanans aver again... Even if these lands aren't transferred to private hands, Montana still cannot afford the cost to maintain the lands nor can we afford the damage that will be done to our wildlife habitats, streams, forests and watersheds by the clear cutting, mining, and over grazing that will promptly follow.† I stand with you and all average Montanans that share the love of access to the great outdoors," - Richard, Great Falls, MT

"But this should give you a good idea of just how much the so-called 'conservation' organizations are in the pocket of FWP.†† It's a long-standing 'relationship' here in Montana where, apparently, our so-called 'conservationists' are always ready to cut the baby in half to keep FWP happy...and funded." - George Ochenski, Helena, MT

I would like to thank the following contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Jack Bugg and Tim Crawford

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

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