Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"Devolution of America’s public lands would threaten our outdoor heritage, and destabilize Montana’s outdoor economy"
- Rick Potts

"All truth passes through 3 stages..."
Click image to enlarge

EMWH was contacted by the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. They are hosting their annual Environmental Law Symposium. This years focus is Development in the Public Trust Doctrine. They had seen my Theodore Roosevelt Public Trust Doctrine Conservation Postcard and asked to use it on their webpage and on their posters for the event. I was more than pleased to contribute to such an event. We need more awareness of our Public Trust Doctrine. I look forward to the papers and presentations from this event.

Quick note on sending in public comments to legislators during the session - while recognizing that they serve to represent the citizens of Montana, basically our employees, please be respectful, as a good employer would towards an employee, in expressing your desires for how you would like to see Montana managed. Look at this as an employment issue. Watch the Bills and how they vote, if they are not representing Montana, politely notify them of your displeasure and that you will not be voting for them again and vote them out. Our Legislators will only be as responsible and accountable as the Public that votes for and oversees them.

Transfer is a folly no matter how you look at it
"Because the outcome wasn’t what she wanted, she is now proposing to drag out the issue even more — at taxpayers’ expense. It is folly to think that another 18 months will produce a different result.

How long do we need to study a bad idea before we conclude it’s still just a bad idea? It’s time for her and her allies to put this outrageous idea to rest."

Montana timber group opposes federal-land transfer
"While proponents of federal-land transfer often claim state management would increase resource extraction and jobs, Montana’s timber industry doesn’t agree.

On Friday, the Montana Wood Products Association board of directors issued a policy statement opposing efforts to transfer federal lands to the state.

'It really is prompted by all the bills coming through the state Legislature this year. We’ve had conversations with the people who are promoting that agenda and tried to explain why it’s not helpful for forest products and forestry in general,' said MWPA executive director Julia Altemus."
They are not going to listen because this is not really about jobs, its about privatizing our public lands, water and resources!

Public lands: Transfer would kill golden goose
"The idea of ceding America’s lands to the states is flat wrong. The call to 'give the federal lands back to the states' is totally inaccurate. These lands were never part of the states to begin with.

Secondly, Montana could never afford the estimated $250 million burden of managing an additional 30 million acres. Despite dedicated hard-working staff, Montana state agencies already struggle to manage the lands and waters currently in the state portfolio.

Third, we Montanans treasure our opportunities to access our public lands for hunting, fishing, camping and year-round recreational activities. Devolution of America’s public lands would threaten our outdoor heritage, and destabilize Montana’s outdoor economy.

Montana legislators, it’s time to stop your attack on America’s golden goose."

Fielder's bill to prevent federal land sales tabled in committee
SB 274 - "The bill ultimately failed on a 5-7 vote and was then tabled.
'With all due respect to Senator Fielder, this legislation is about as unconstitutional as it can get and I think it’s a waste of time for this Legislature to pass it,' said Tom France of the National Wildlife Federation. A state telling the federal government what to do on federal land violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as statutory and case law, he said."

Glacier Country
Montana Sportsmen's Expo
Feb. 27-March 1 Kalispell, MT

Wildlife biologist to present talk on mountain goats in Bitterroot Valley
(This is an excellent presentation by Dr. Bruce Smith)
March 7, Hamilton, MT

"Montana-based Wind River Bear Institute has developed a noninvasive method they call Bear Shepherding to reduce human-bear conflict. The method teaches bears how to recognize and avoid human territorial boundaries. Bear Shepherding includes preventative education where communities are taught how to eliminate the most common cause of conflict such as food attractants, food conditioning, and habituation to people and their 'territory.'

Karelian Bear Dogs at EMWH Bridges for more information

Bigfork conservation group sues Flathead Co. over bridge
"The Community Association for North Shore Conservation (CANSC) wants the bridge removed and the building permit revoked. 'This is a resource that's open year-round and people they walk, they run, they cross-country ski, they snowshoe in the winter time, they go bird watching, they go hunting in the fall,' said Dave Hadden, chair of the CANSC. The CANSC has now filed a lawsuit against the county, claiming the permit was issued illegally and that the bridge violates the Montana Lakeshore Protection Act."

Southwest Montana
Public Lands Rally in Helena !!!
Hundreds rally for federal public lands in Helena by Laura Lundquist
Public lands rally packs Capitol rotunda by Tom Kuglin

Mule Deer Foundation & Partners Secure Public Access to 2,800 acres in Montana
"The Mule Deer Foundation and conservation partners in Montana recently acquired over 2,800 acres of land near Craig, Montana, protecting important year-round habitat for mule deer and other big game wildlife and opening access for sportsmen.

Known as 'Whitetail Prairie,' the property adjoins the 32,000-acre Beartooth Wildlife Management Area and was immediately conveyed to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department to be added to the WMA. MDF joined its partners the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International chapters in Billings and Great Falls and the Cinnabar Foundation to support the acquisition."
Yellowstone Country
"For folks interested in learning more about Bozeman's beautiful,  wild but threatened backyard, the Gallatin Range Roadless Area, please visit the Montanans for Gallatin Wilderness (MGW) website. The Gallatin Range is a proposed Wilderness area, but is threatened by pressure from mechanized recreationists and also by the U.S. Forest Service, which continues to appease these organized anti-Wilderness self-interest groups. The Gallatin Community Collaborative (GCC) is a Forest Service-initiated effort to minimize Wilderness and maximize mechanized abuses. Although some members of Montanans for Gallatin Wilderness are participating in the GCC (for damage control purposes), the GCC is working to further compromise potential Gallatin Range Wilderness, and is inherently biased against Wilderness, wildlife, pure water and native vegetation." - H

Montanans For Gallatin Wilderness

Buffalo and ‘ag gag’: Battling to save Yellowstone’s hairy humpbacks by Nate Schweber
"For decades, volunteers for the group had filmed men working on behalf of the West’s powerful agribusiness industry as they ran down and killed bison that tried to migrate out of the park. But this year, when Ketcham and the campaign asked for unrestricted access to a corral just inside the northwestern corner of Yellowstone where park employees pen hundreds of buffalo before they are trucked to slaughterhouses, the National Park Service (NPS) said no.

That refusal has sparked outrage among activists beyond those concerned about animal welfare, putting the dispute over the fate of the buffalo into the realm of free speech. Late last week James J. Holman, an attorney working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming, sent park officials a letter threatening to sue the NPS.

'The First Amendment aspect is what got us involved,' he said. 'The bottom line is this is something that is very important to a lot of people.' "

Yellowstone National Park to hold tour of bison holding pen
This is due to the Public (especially Buffalo Field Campaign) fighting for the responsible stewardship of our bison.
"Yellowstone National Park is hosting a Wednesday tour of a wild bison holding facility that's used to temporarily keep animals destined for slaughter.
Park administrators have closed the Stephens Creek holding pen near Gardiner to the public while it's in operation this winter. But they agreed to allow limited access to members of the media and advocacy groups after complaints about the closure."

Central Montana
Bullwhacker Access Durfee Hills Timeline:

  • and as BLM has revised their previous statement to the Public regarding restoring access to the Bullwhacker - "A proposed land exchange to restore access was considered, but was determined to be not in the best interest of the American people who have entrusted the BLM to manage their public lands for them.", 
  • and as there are "whispers on the winds" of legislators getting involved,
I have filed an additional BLM FOIA, requesting expediting, involving communications between BLM and legislators - Montana and US, concerning a Wilks Durfee Hills land exchange, as this apparently is of interest to some of them.

Bullwhacker Preliminary Access Map
The scoping comment period is open until March 5, 2015
Please remind the BLM that you want them to build the road to restore access to the Bullwhacker - east side route. NOT a Durfee Hills land exchange.
You may submit scoping comments to Mike Kanya by email to: blm_mt_public_access@blm.gov.

Send written comments to Mike Kanya by mail to:
Bullwhacker Road Comments
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument
920 NE Main
Lewistown MT 59457

Missouri River Country
Oil Found in Glendive Fish; Consumption Advisory Remains
"Detectable levels of petroleum were found in tests of fish pulled from the Yellowstone River downstream from a broken petroleum pipeline near Glendive last month. This week Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks advised fishermen to use caution when deciding whether to eat fish caught in the area affected by the oil spill."

Lab tests show 'detectable levels of petroleum' in Yellowstone fish
"Lab tests have shown detectable levels of petroleum in the muscle of some of the fish netted in the Yellowstone River downstream from an oil pipeline that ruptured near Glendive in January, spilling an estimated 30,000 gallons.

Consequently, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has continued its fish consumption advisory for the stretch of river."

Southeast Montana
Biologist document rare sturgeon's spawning run
"The biologist saw a radio-tagged female pallid sturgeon ripe with eggs swim up a side channel to go around Intake Diversion Dam.

'Lo and behold we hit the holy grail,' said Mike Backes, fisheries manager for Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Miles City...

Biologists are hoping that if pallid sturgeon can swim around obstructions like Intake Dam, the few remaining wild fish may successfully reproduce before they die of old age. The majority of the wild fish are now about 60. It can be 10 years between when female pallids spawn."

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reinstatement of Final Rules for the Gray Wolf in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes in Compliance With Court Orders
"We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are issuing this final rule to comply with court orders that reinstate the regulatory protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes. Pursuant to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia court order dated September 23, 2014, this rule reinstates the April 2, 2009 (74 FR 15123), final rule regulating the gray wolf in the State of Wyoming as a nonessential experimental population. Gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, the eastern third of Washington and Oregon, and north-central Utah retain their delisted status and are not impacted by this final rule. In addition, pursuant to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia court order dated December 19, 2014, this rule reinstates the March 9, 1978 (43 FR 9607), final rule as it relates to gray wolves in the western Great Lakes including endangered status for gray wolves in all of Wisconsin and Michigan, the eastern half of North Dakota and South Dakota, the northern half of Iowa, the northern portions of Illinois and Indiana, and the northwestern portion of Ohio; threatened status for gray wolves in Minnesota; critical habitat for gray wolves in Minnesota and Michigan; and the rule promulgated under section 4(d) of the ESA for gray wolves in Minnesota."

Backcountry pilots land status in Forest Service planning rule
"The biggest challenge to backcountry flying is having a place to land your airplane. That’s why small-plane pilots around the country were celebrating last week when they got official notice that recreational aircraft are now a recognized part of the U.S. Forest Service’s planning process...

'All of this doesn’t mean more access,' Mowbray said. 'It means the access we’ve had is documented and part of travel plans, just like snowmobiling, hiking, bicycling and those kind of activities.' "

A cynical ploy to take our federal lands
"Take a peek at that ALEC resolution, because it tells us in plain English. 'WHEREAS, unleashing in a responsible manner the trillions of dollars of abundant resources locked up on federally controlled lands ...' Blah, whereas, blah.

Folks, it’s simple. To pay for the management of these huge swaths of lands, states would need to lease every available acre of once-federal lands to the industry of highest bidding. This isn’t some unfortunate side effect of state’s rights legislation – it’s the point. So here’s an interesting statistic for those policy wonks at ALEC dreaming up ways to transfer public wealth to private corporations: Though you wish we were selfish, provincial and purely self-serving (as you undoubtedly are), 72 percent of Coloradans think of federal lands as American lands, not Coloradan lands. We view ourselves as stewards of the uniquely American and thoroughly astounding network of federal lands that makes the West an incredible place to live, work and recreate. We don’t want them for ourselves.

Federal public lands are our shared American heritage, one we will fight to protect as such with all the vigor of people entrusted with something precious."

In relation to the last newsletters article, Colorado cattleman wanting wolves down there, Dan Wildin commented, "Tell Vagneur he can have all the wolves and I will donate some Money for transportation!" This is representative that there are over 800 subscribers and a wide diversity of opinions out there. I am respecting of diversity of opinion, one of the words in the EMWH word cloud logo.

"I was singing your praises and he asked to get on your list.  Told him about web page." Harold Johns, Butte

"about the hunter orange......do you also have the numbers for Idaho? they don't require hunter orange there.  it's purely optional. thank you  for the thoughts and updates."   T  - checking on it. This is a good way to network questions and information. The more informed the Public is, the more effective we will be in advocating our Public Trust.

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

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