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."
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.
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."
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."
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"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."
by John Gibson
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."
Fish, Wildlife & Parks announced today that two new regional
supervisors have been hired to lead its offices in Billings and
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
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.
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
'It's really taking opportunity away
from the public land hunter during the general season,' said Greg
Munther of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers...
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
or mailed to Region 2 FWP, 3201 Spurgin Rd., Missoula, MT 59804.
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.
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.
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
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
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 officials are preparing a final decision on the Divide after taking objections to its draft plan.
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,
'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
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,
'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 email@example.com
or Townsend Ranger District, 415 S Front, Townsend, MT, 59644.
November 19th (IBMP meeting)--Chico Hot Springs, Pray MT
Time: 8 AM - 5 PM (expected; draft agenda to be published here ~Nov5)
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.
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|
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.
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."
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.
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.
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...
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
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...
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
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
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
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."
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
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
crossing and no one owns the air space......Hell use a folding
ladder over section or I/4, I/2 corner!" - Jack Jones
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
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.
eyes point forward and our teeth are sharp. We are predators,
plain and simple, and the instincts of me-now outweigh the big brain." -
If you would like to further this work and research, please click to contribute to EMWH.
Tim Crawford, Neil Jacobson of Bear's Paw Bows, an anonymous conservation hunter, "I appreciate your work and advocacy".
I would like to thank the following contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
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