Putting the "Public" Back in "Public Trust"

"For more than 200 years, science and research
have been the source of our country's greatest strengths,
and the promise of its bright future."

"In this presidential election season, one thing is certain: candidates will rarely - if ever - be asked what they would do to keep this nation at the forefront of science and innovation.

That's a shame.

The public dialogue about science is perhaps the most vital and most fraught national conversation not taking place in our country, and the ramifications are profound.
Ultimately, the way we address science and innovation will determine what our children learn in school, what college graduates bring to the larger world, how public lands and natural resources are cared for and whether people receive adequate health care. And the list goes on."

"Following close on the heels of this sad saga was a similar decision by the Obama administration to issue a much-criticized 'plan' to recover threatened bull trout. Given that all the science shows bull trout need clean, cold and connected waters in which to live and reproduce, what they got from this Democratic administration was far short of attaining any of those vital parameters. Instead, their once-connected habitat has been broken into separate sections in which, unbelievably, the numbers of bull trout actually existing doesn't matter as long as piecemeal efforts to address the many factors contributing to their demise receive some attention. And of course, once again, the extractive industries and development that are largely responsible for the bull trout's decline are given preference over actions that will actually restore their population...

In short, it has been one of the most shameful weeks in the long history of Montana's once-renowned conservation leadership. Given stewardship over what's left of the nation's disappearing native species and resources Montana's politicians have failed miserably. Their industry pals may fill their campaign war chests, but they will never expunge the long-term impacts of these decisions, nor what they are stealing from future generations by egregiously substituting politics for science."

Untamed - a Traditional Bowhunting Film by Clay Hayes, "balancing a love of hunting and a fascination with nature."
I saw this video premiered at the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers meeting in Lewistown, MT in the fall of 2014. So for a bit of inspiration, I hope that y'all enjoy this.


The Elk Sellers by John Gibson
"We pay the Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to manage elk in our state. But if you read the web site of profiteers, such as the Musselshell or Arnaud  Outfitters you will find there is little or no mention  of the Montana FW&P. One could easily conclude that these landowners manage their own wildlife. The problem is, that conclusion is not far from the truth."

"Collaboration can be beneficial, but before passing any bills we should ask basic questions: What are the consistent guidelines? How are participants chosen? Are any participants paid? Is collaboration always appropriate? Are recreation and extraction promoted over wildlife? These are just some of many questions. We need an open discussion before passing any bills restricting citizens' rights."

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks announced today that two new regional supervisors have been hired to lead its offices in Billings and Glasgow.

Barb Beck, who worked for 13 years for the U.S. Forest Service - including time as a district ranger on both the Helena and Nez Perce National Forests - has been hired as the FWP Region 5 supervisor in Billings, replacing Gary Hammond who retired in July.
Mark Sullivan, a 26-year FWP veteran, is the new supervisor in FWP Region 6 in Glasgow, replacing Tom Flowers who was recently hired as the chief of FWP's Enforcement Division in Helena. Sullivan moves up from the Region 6 wildlife manager, a position he's held since 2010.

"The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission on Thursday approved guidelines for some early or late season elk hunting meant to reduce the population, despite concerns that it won't work and might harm regular hunting opportunities...

'It's really taking opportunity away from the public land hunter during the general season,' said Greg Munther of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers...

Some raised concerns that the extra seasons would be a boon for outfitters who make money off elk hunting and don't allow access to the general public.
Kathryn QannaYahu of Enhancing Montana's Wildlife and Habitat said she thinks shoulder seasons are a solution that 'leads to the privatization of wildlife.' "

"Illegal big-game poaching isn't just bad news for wildlife.
It also negatively affects law-abiding sportspeople, wildlife managers, local businesses, taxpaying citizens and future hunters. For people who follow the rules, poaching is a nefarious, malignant vice that needs to be dealt with harshly.

'Poaching pisses people off,' said Keith Balfourd, director of marketing for the Boone and Crockett Club, a Missoula-based organization that is dedicated to preserving hunter heritage, maintaining ethics and furthering conservation efforts. 'Stealing wildlife is a serious problem. It affects all people that care about wildlife.' "

A draft environmental assessment has been prepared describing this proposal. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) invites the public to comment on this proposal to acquire a 320-acre addition to its Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area (FCWMA), through a purchase from Doug and Annette Rehbein. The proposed acquisition property ("subject property") is a private inholding (2 parcels) within the 34,721-acre FCWMA, and it is also bordered by lands owned by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), United States Forest Service (USFS), and 2 small private parcels.

Comments can be submitted by Friday, November 6, 2015 1:19 PM, to Sharon Rose at shrose@mt.gov or mailed to Region 2 FWP, 3201 Spurgin Rd., Missoula, MT  59804.

"Several environmental groups were celebrating Friday after a federal judge in Missoula approved a settlement agreement between conservationists and state officials ensuring long-term protection for over 22,000 acres of critical grizzly bear habitat on state forest lands near Whitefish."

Ray Gross is a conservation hunter & angler, an FWP Citizen Advisory Council member for our Region 3 and a George Grant Chapter of Trout Unlimited (southwest Montana) board member from Dillon, Montana with firsthand experience concerning the Beaverhead & Big Hole River Recreation Rules. Click to read his bullet points for scoping comments and concerns, as well as comment submission information. For example: Some outfitters are outright selling client days; a few outfitters have even sold their client days, applied for and received additional days as a one boat outfitter.

Please take a few moments to send in public scoping comments SUPPORTING the Beaverhead and Big Hole River Recreation Rules - with concerns by November 1st. We need to protect our public lands and waters from privatization and exploitation.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will host two public scoping meetings in October to take comments and questions about the Beaverhead and Big Hole River Recreation Rules. The meetings will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the dates and at the locations which follow:
  • Dillon: Wednesday, Oct. 21 at the University of Montana-Western Block Hall #311
  • Butte: Thursday, Oct. 22 at the Butte Ranger District, 1820 Meadowlark Drive
Per Region 3 Supervisor Sam Sheppard, the scoping process will develop a tentative proposal, which will go to the FWP Commissioners probably in December, with FWP's recommendations. Pending commissioner tentative approval, it would then be opened up for the formal comment period with a vote by the FWP Commission expected in Jan. or Feb.

Change in big game security standard for Helena National Forest worries some hunting advocates by Tom Kuglin
"The Helena National Forest is proposing changes to how it manages big game habitat in parts of the forest, and that has some hunting advocates concerned... Some hunting advocates take issue with the amendment and the lack of a hiding cover standard. Both retired wildlife biologist Gayle Joslin with Helena Hunters and Anglers and Montana Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Chairman Greg Munther filed formal objections to the amendment and testified against it at an August hearing before the Forest Service.
Forest Service officials are preparing a final decision on the Divide after taking objections to its draft plan.

'Guidelines are minimal, making this all optional,' Joslin said 'They did have a good standard they consistently violated and now they're making standards that can't be challenged because guidelines don't have any criteria involved.' The science behind elk and road density assumes there will be vegetative cover, and the amendment sets up a theoretical scenario where an entire security area could be logged and still qualify as secure for big game, she said. Even if only half of the herd units are meeting the standard, that is still better than eliminating the standard completely, she added.
Many of the proposed security areas are at higher elevations with no connecting cover between them. Hunters will surely key in on those areas, adding pressure that will eventually force elk to seek refuge on private land, Joslin said...

'If I was in their shoes I'd want a lot of flexibility too, but we're engaged because we simply feel this is so key to the future of quality elk hunting on public lands. Displacement to private lands is occurring everywhere,' Munther said. 'From our standpoint, our charge is to watch out for wildlife and wildlife needs.' "

"Executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies Mike Garrity was critical of the project, saying it is dishonest for not addressing cattle grazing's impacts on wildlife forage. The trees the Forest Service proposes removing are valuable hiding cover for wildlife, and the Elkhorns are supposed to be managed for wildlife and not livestock, he said.
'Sara Johnson (executive director of the Native Ecosystems Council) and I have looked at the aspen in the Elkhorns, and cattle grazing has devastated the aspen stands,' he said. 'The Elkhorns is one of the best hunting areas in the country. If there is a shortage of forage for elk then they should look at reducing the number of cattle, not hiding cover for big game.' "

By Nov. 5th, please submit public comments against the Johnny Crow Habitat Improvement Project #47670 to Corey Lewellen  clewellen@fs.fed.us or Townsend Ranger District, 415 S Front, Townsend, MT, 59644.

Yellowstone Country

November 19th (IBMP meeting)--Chico Hot Springs, Pray MT
Time: 8 AM - 5 PM (expected; draft agenda to be published here ~Nov5)

"Exploratory mine drilling is 'absolutely not appropriate' in Emigrant Gulch, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said Wednesday in Livingston, and he offered local opponents of the proposal the full support of his office.  
'You're doing a great job,' Tester told representatives of local organizations during a Wednesday meeting at the City-County Complex. 'I'm in.' "  

Durfee Hills Elk Herd
A few weeks ago a retired BLMer called me on the phone and asked me to go to the Judith Valley Phillips Resource Management Plan on the BLM Montana website. Told me to look under the Judith Resource Area, then Land Acquisition and Disposal, check to see if any of these Durfee Hills parcels were listed in the current RMP for disposal - they were not, in fact they were slated to be of value and better access for some of those parcels was identified. "Areas not identified for disposal will be managed for longterm public ownership."

This happened to tie in with some research I did this summer on the Middle Bench County Road - a public access road, in which the Wilks have put up Private Road and No Trespassing signs at the entrance. Middle Bench County Road access another of the BLM parcels the Wilks want and it drives up to and through a much larger BLM section. Durfee Hills online petition has garnered over 3200 signatures. The hand petitions have garnered roughly 500 signatures. Mark Albers, from the HiLine, is now in charge of this Central Montana district and Shane Hershman is the Lewistown Field Manager. Hopefully, they will be more supportive of the federal public ownership for the Public and the value of the Durfees than their predecessors.

Missouri Breaks
"Getting people like Hall out to experience public lands where they might not otherwise go is another of the program's goals, said Citizen Science Program Director Lisa Gerloff.
Over the past decade, Gerloff's trip leaders have taken more than 400 volunteers to more than 20 wildlands, mostly in the national forests of western Montana. Then last fall, after a few years of working with BLM Recreation Planner David Lefevre, Gerloff won a grant to start working on BLM projects. With more than 30 BLM Wilderness Study Areas in Montana, the work should last a few years and help introduce volunteers to a different agency and a less mountainous kind of wilderness."

"A group of eastern Montana ranchers represented by a Billings law firm has filed a brief with the Montana Supreme Court, contending the city of Missoula failed to meet the statutory requirements needed to win its condemnation case against Mountain Water Co.

The brief has left the city and its attorneys questioning the group's funding history, its ties to the Republican-held Montana Public Service Commission, and its true motivations in the case.

In the brief, United Property Owners of Montana, an advocacy group comprised of ranchers based in Roy, contends the Montana Constitution provides 'strong and important safeguards' against the taking of private property, something it's asking the high court to consider...

Missoula Mayor John Engen and attorneys representing the city questioned the motivation of United Property Owners of Montana - a group that lists former Montana Republican Party executive director Chuck Denowh as its policy director, and Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke's former communication director, Shelby DeMars, as its lobbyist.

Engen said the group isn't looking to protect property rights in the Mountain Water case, since the only property in question is owned by The Carlyle Group, an international corporate conglomerate valued at $800 billion and headquartered in Washington, D.C.

'It's fair to wonder who's really paying for UPOM's participation in this case and why,' Engen said. 'This case is about the people of Missoula controlling their water future.' "

West & US

"Today, some Westerners might call the 1908 presidential proclamation of a Grand Canyon National Monument a 'surreptitious land grab.' But it all depends on who's doing the grabbing, and for what purpose...

But all of us are poorer when national treasures are lost, and we prosper when places like the Grand Canyon are protected in perpetuity. The entire Grand Canyon is sacred to all of our region's Native people, who are banding together to protect it. If ever a law existed to fight the thieves of time, the Antiquities Act is it. Choosing to rob our grandchildren of their heritage is assuredly a decision we'll all live to regret."

"Whenever a conservation group starts to talk about 'preserving a lifestyle' you have to be wary... However, the story leaves much out. It glosses over the many, many unavoidable impacts of livestock grazing upon native ecosystems. Including the obvious fact that putting the majority of vegetation into the belly of an exotic animal reduces the carrying capacity for native herbivores from grasshoppers to pronghorn. Most of the riparian areas and springs have been commandeered for livestock use-again with direct consequences for native species."

Scholars want science-based review of Colorado River study
"As groups and governments across seven states in the West grapple with how to best manage the ever-challenged resources of the Colorado River, scholars are calling for a science-based review of a study being carried out by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation..."

Sage grouse plans a recipe for extinction "The decision to preclude sage grouse from protection of the Endangered Species Act was a politically based decision designed to protect existing exploitative industries like oil and gas and livestock grazing, rather than save the bird from extinction... So all this about grazing management plans being modified for the grouse is a bunch of happy talk because the BLM simply will not have the guts to do much more than minor changes - if they even get around to it. And sage grouse need changes now, not 10-20 years from now."

"Susan Tixier, a tireless voice for conserving wilderness in Utah, has reached the end of her trail after many decades exploring the West's desert wildlands and explaining why those places matter. Tixier, who died Thursday at age 73, is best remembered as a founder of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, the irreverent advocacy group now based in Durango, Colo...

'Several of us took umbrage and decided the honorable senator from Utah, as well as others in Congress, should hear from some Great Old Broads for Wilderness about how we felt about roads in wild places,' Tixier wrote in a 2001 blog post. 'We started the organization without any thought to its becoming a nationally known, professionally staffed organization with about 3,000 members.' "

Concerning Change in big game security standard for Helena National Forest worries some hunting advocates, "Profound, true, sad, all at once.  Nice job by Gail putting the pieces together. This is nothing less than a complex, multi-faceted, deliberate assault on wildlife habitat. More logging, less big game security.  What 'multiple-use?' " - Steve Kelly

Concerning Corner Crossing Postcard, "Kat - I think that your suggestion about framing the corner crossing issue as a ballot initiative is great. If you think about it, the current prohibition on corner crossing means that private landowners own and control the airspace above their property. The logical conclusion to that would be that United Airlines would have to obtain permission from thousands of people every time it flies from Billings to Denver. I think we would win this one." - Don Thomas

"Corner crossing and no one owns the air space......Hell use a folding ladder over section or I/4, I/2 corner!" - Jack Jones

Concerning "Found" missing BLM Bullwhacker Public Comments tabulation, "kick butt, Kat, excellent analysis" - George Bauer

'I realize that the FWP, BLM, State lands and whoever get lots of complaints and can't answer them all (BUT!!) the Wilks are on a false campaign to gain popularity for their proposal to trade land because they think they can. Giving access on the Red Hill Road is a joke also. They claim they will give us access there which they think there isn't any. Wrong again spanky, there's several accesses to forest land. Why I contacted you was to keep the circle of talks going around so not to loose focus that the BLM and our political figures remember we don't want this exchange. The Wilks have continued to put adds in our local paper about how everyone is on their side and the deal should go through. Keep up the fight and maybe this one will win." - Rob Langford

Concerning We're getting our conservation asses kicked,  "Gads, don't we know.  And, yes, knowledge of history is one of the great weaknesses of our time.  On par with the lack of knowledge of science.  In 1988, on the front page of the Missoulian, there were two articles next to each other.  On the left was an article on the decline of science knowledge/understanding and how it was hurting our country.  On the right side was a (no-news) article about Max the Ass Baucus, Senator Wallop from WY and another of that ilk trashing the Forest Service and Park Service for their failure to deal with the fires.  Pure soapbox pandering.  I wrote in my letter to the editor the next day that the two articles were an amazing reflection of the failure of elected officials to deal in facts.  '88 was my last fire with the FS; I was rangering out in the Selway just enjoying getting paid to backpack. 
This year we face the same bullpuckey from politicians spewing the same absolutely false information.  I sat down with a county commissioner and talked about fire history and science with him, which he proceeded to ignore after agreeing with me.  The press is yellow (free-for-all market economics) and the public is continuing to accept being dumbed down.  Real conservation is disappearing in the face of groups falling prey to the concept of growth and money over mission (free-for-all market economics).  But Emerson and Muir and Thoreau probably all said the same thing in their day. 
Our eyes point forward and our teeth are sharp.  We are predators, plain and simple, and the instincts of me-now outweigh the big brain." - Rick Meis 

I would like to thank the following contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Tim Crawford, Neil Jacobson of Bear's Paw Bows, an anonymous conservation hunter, "I appreciate your work and advocacy".

If you would like to further this work and research,   please click to contribute to EMWH.
Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife  &



513 1/2 W. Curtiss St., Bozeman, MT 59715
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