Putting the "Public"
Back In "Public Trust"
"It is your responsibility
to advocate for your community"
has thrived in wake of the Waldo Canyon fire
Those of you in Montana may be
asking, "Where's Waldo?" Where Waldo is, is not the point of
inclusion in this newsletter, as what happened in Waldo, specifically
to the wildlife.
"As unbelievable as it may be, given the large-scale destruction
of the Waldo Canyon fire, wildlife has more than just bounced
back. Bighorn sheep and other large game animals are thriving
in the wake of the 2012 fire, say officials from Colorado Parks
and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service...
This often happens after wildfires, they said. Quesada added
that there has been an influx of woodpeckers to the area as
decaying trunks have become infested with insects. 'Certain
species respond really well to that type of disturbance,' he
For more information - Fire
as a Habitat Management Tool
Dont forget the
Montana Rally For Public Lands
Unfortunately I will probably not be able
to join the Public at this rally, as the concussion, though
healing, does not mix so well with loud sounds or lots of noise,
which I expect at a rally. :) But I do feel that a strong show
of support is necessary to make statements that we, the Public,
are fighting against the special interest agenda to steal our
Public Lands. These are the same people that scream about "over
reach" or "eminent domain" from the Federal government, yet
they, hypocritically, are attempting just that on a much more
massive scale, just flipped, to take from the Public, to give
to the special interests. Roosevelt referred to them as "selfish
men or greedy interests." So grab your "big sticks" and let
your voices be heard. This is our land!
February 16th, High Noon
Montana State Capitol. Second Floor Rotunda
Click image to enlarge
is not a game biologist
"Kary's bills, one to remove the word public from the game damage
statutes (SB120) and the other to legislate late season cow
elk hunts (LC1186 - SB245), which were commonplace and didn't
work prior to 2003.
Montana citizens, especially Senate District 22, should rise
up and slap down these two pieces of bad legislation. They are
nothing more than attempts to privatize and commercialize our
public trust resource. And to top it all off, Kary was very
arrogant and condescending explaining his bills, not a manner
in which an elected official should act with their constituents
— the Montana citizens."
SB 120 is currently tabled, but SB
245 is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, the
10th. Please email
the Senate Fish & Game Committee before then, opposing
the privatizing of our wildlife. Our elk should not be managed
by landowner special interest biopolitics, but by proven biological
science, by the evidence. Please oppose this bill,
This is the
I heard at the Livingston elk brucellosis meetings where
they wanted year round open season on elk, with one rancher/county
commissioner saying, "If he's got a pivot, he doesnt need those
elk down there. Shoot them at any time, really."
- Which changes "population
estimates", which ebb and flow, are migratory, to the more
specific, hard line, special interest landowner oriented
"sustainable population numbers" they want to draw the line
- It extends the 5 weeks general
season to Feb. 15th to meet their numbers objective. If
landowners have an issue with ungulates eating their hay,
they need to go through the Game Damage program, which requires
public hunter access and use of the Hunt Roster, not legislate
a "post season elk population management hunting season."
- It also removes the population
objectives of at/below based on habitat established in 2009.
Requiring FWP to re-evaluate every year, notifying the public
and the EQC before Sept. 1st of each year. Again, the estimate
population should be based on habitat, biology, which ebbs
and flows. You cannot expect wildlife to remain static like
a production factory. What about a hard winter? What about
a disease outbreak like EHD?
- And the EQC ARE NOT WILDLIFE
BIOLOGISTS! Legislators should not be managing our wildlife
through statute, risking special interest politics with
potential back room deals wishing to privatize our wildlife.
Elk should be managed by our fish & wildlife agency
through scientific wildlife management with public input
Rush by Montana legislators to
seize federal lands baffling
"The whole idea seems to be grounded in some fantasy that, if
the state controlled these lands, thousands of loggers and miners
would go back to work utilizing every resource that could be
cut down, dug or drilled out of these lands. All-terrain vehicles
and snowmobiles would be liberated to run roughshod over forest
land where they are now prohibited.
And legal challenges to timber sales and mining operations based
on existing environmental law would all magically go away.
All this and yet dozens of bills dealing with this issue have
been requested by conservative lawmakers in Helena, taking up
valuable legislative time and money.
It’s time for a reality check. This movement is going exactly
nowhere. Lawmakers need to face that fact and get to work on
real problems that can be solved."
Steve Daines: Senate votes not
in MT's interests
In January's final week, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines took four votes
that shocked Montanans because of their regressive policy positions
and their complete lack of public process.
He voted twice against the Land and Water Conservation Fund,
which uses offshore oil revenues to fund parks and trails across
He also voted against the Antiquities Act, which enables
the president to protect landscapes with special cultural or
archaeological values (e.g. our Lewis and Clark Caverns, a national
monument before it became a state park).
Finally, Daines voted to strip protections from 27 million acres
of public lands without any public input. This measure would
have opened up nearly 700,000 acres of land for development
Does Daines act according to the wishes of most Montanans? Or,
now that he's in the upper chamber, is he following other agendas
beyond our state's interests? How else to explain these bad
Good questions from O. Alan Weltzien
love and 50 shades of green in Montana
"The new guidebook Frommer's "Places for Passion: The 75 Most
Romantic Destinations in the World — and Why Every Couple Needs
to Get Away," highlights Montana twice, for Glacier National Park
The authors wax enthusiastically about our state:
'There are fifty shades of green in Montana from spring through
fall: the lighter chartreuse leaves of spring, the darker evergreen
shades, and the gray-greens that cover the velvety hills and link
the lower landscape to the scrub pines and massive evergreens.
This is a land of rushing rivers, fine fishing and endless cattle
and horse ranches punctuating the valleys and hills. Not everyone
wears a cowboy hat, far from it, but the cowboy ethos is in the
air. It lives in that particular Montana twang and in the no-nonsense,
friendly way you are likely to be greeted. Much of this world
is about cattle, some of it is about timber, and a little about
mining (it used to be a lot). But come summertime, tourists flock
to Montana. They come to fish, to camp and to hike. They want
the whole Western experience...' "
While not Glacier, I took this at the Missouri
River Breaks area,
love all of Montana's shades of green!
lapse: Transfer movement raises fears over public access
"The Nature Conservancy hopes to transition more than 117,000
acres of Plum Creek land purchased near the Blackfoot River last
month into public hands. But some now fear the movement to transfer
federal lands to state control will result in more private holdings
and less public access.
Conservation advocates like TNC, however, are far from entertained.
Given the widespread public acclaim garnered by the latest purchase
and its predecessor, the 310,000-acre Montana Legacy Project,
TNC land conservation specialist Mary Hollow questions just how
much public support the transfer of public lands has in the state.
She adds that small communities like those along the Blackfoot
River are the people who have approached TNC about acquiring private
property for public ownership in the first place.
'It’s a very disappointing dialogue in my opinion,' Hollow says.
'It is not well informed, and it’s not locally grown. The last
point there is the thing that bothers me the most about it. This
is a conversation that’s been generated by the American Lands
Council and sold to a legislator to carry. That’s not a Montana
way, and that’s certainly not how Montanans operate.' "
County reaping benefit of public lands
"Counties with larger shares of public lands — Gallatin and Flathead
among them — attract more jobs and see stronger growth than the
rest of the state, the report found.
'If we’re going to continue to see that kind of economic impact,
that sometimes we take for granted, we need to make a concerted
effort to keep public lands in public hands,' said Sen. Jon Tester,
D-Montana, during his keynote speech Friday for the Haymakers
Exchanges need to keep
best interests of public land users in mind
by Mark Schwomeyer
"We would like you to know that Central Montana Outdoors is a
diverse, local group of public land outdoor enthusiasts who are
dedicated to working through natural resource related issues with
the best interest of the public land users in mind. At this time
we are still focused on following through with our petition (1,600
signatures) which stated: 1) stop the land exchange involving
the Durfee hills; 2) reestablish a motorized route into the Bullwhacker
country in the Missouri River Breaks. We were successful in stopping
the Durfee Hills land exchange. Now, all of our focus is on getting
the motorized access reestablished into the Bullwhacker country."
Just a reminder, I have updated the 2014 events involved
Fencing Durfee Hills Timeline.
The 2015 events are on the Wilks
The BLM just published a new press release on the Bullwhacker
access efforts. BLM
concludes preliminary Public Scoping Meetings to Restore Bullwhacker
" 'At all four public meetings we heard the public express interest
in the BLM revisiting the idea of a land exchange option to restore
motorized public access to the Bullwhacker area. We do not have
a land exchange proposal at this time, but we would be willing
to consider a land exchange proposal that has the support of a
working group of interested parties and is broadly favored
by the public,' Benes explained." Since when do the Friends
of the Monument (the "public" that has been wanting this land
exchange) and the Wilks trump 1600+ members of the Public?
How's this for "broadly favored by the public"? A
signature petition stating we didnt want to give up the Durfee
As a result, I had to contact the MT BLM FOIA officer handling
my FOIA and ask that they expedite at least that portion of my
FOIA dealing with previous BLM and Wilks communications of an
Anchor Ranch and Durfee Hills trade, as it is now of "compelling
need or urgency to obtaining the records."
BLM Hi-Line Draft
Resource Management Plan
"Of the 2.4 million acres of public
land within the Hi-Line BLM District, the BLM identified 386,000
acres as 'lands with wilderness characteristics' (LWCs). While
we appreciate the thorough inventory, we are very concerned that
the BLM draft plan only commits to keeping 11,000 acres, or about
3% of the LWCs as they are.
The lack of balance could not be more
We need your help today to
ensure access to our public lands for a wide variety of recreation
activities and the long term protection of our Montana way of
life by conserving the best of our prairie lands for future generations.
Email State Director Jamie Connell at BLM_MT_HiLine_RMP@blm.gov
Ice halts oil spill cleanup efforts on Yellowstone River
GLENDIVE -- Clean up efforts in the wake of an oil spill in the
Yellowstone River near Glendive have been suspended due to weather
The biggest obstacle is ice. A spokesman with Bridger Pipelines
confirms the stalled cleanup effort. Officials expect weather conditions
to inhibit recovery efforts for at least a month, until temperatures
Bridger Pipeline LLC emphasized that their goal hasn't' changed,
and that it remains committed to recovering as much oil as possible
to decrease the environmental impact.
are going to keep breaking in rivers
by Alexis Bonogofsky
"On the second day of July in 2011, I walked down to my hay fields
to see if the Yellowstone River had flooded its banks. It had
-- but so had crude oil leaking from Exxon’s Silvertip Pipeline,
which runs underneath the river upstream from my farm south of
Here are some of the hard-earned lessons that landowners like
me learned about pipeline oil spills:..
You have to be your own advocate. You need to do research, go
to public meetings and ask tough questions. It can be hard to
confront people, and that is especially true in smaller communities.
It is your responsibility to advocate for your community and to
be a voice for the people who can’t, or won’t, speak out...
Both of the recent oil spills in the Yellowstone River were preventable.
Yet oil spills will keep happening to communities all over the
West until politicians on both sides of the aisle decide to take
pipeline safety seriously and not just pay lip service to the
changes needed in oversight and regulation of oil companies.
Until then, we’re on our own."
2012 Planning Rule Final Directives for National Forest System
Land Management Planning
The final planning
directives, effective January 30, 2015, are now available. These
directives are the key set of agency guidance documents that direct
implementation of the 2012 planning rule. The Agency’s goal is
to ensure an adaptive land management planning process that is
inclusive, efficient, collaborative and science-based to promote
healthy, resilient, diverse and productive National Forests and
Grasslands. The final directives will support consistent approaches
to achieving the broad goals of the 2012 planning rule.
2012 Planning Rule Final Directives
All outdoorsmen should care
about federal lands bill
From Earl DeGroot, Cheyenne, WY
(I am printing this out
in entirety because this is a realistic scenario. I grew up Republican,
now vote independently and my main voting issue is our Public
Trust. Yet I know people who voted party politics this last November,
hear them now complaining over their elected officials and how
they are voting on outdoor issues, upset, betrayed. When more
people care about voting for American Idol, rather than the 2014
elections, when more people care for a fabricated political party
system rather than the fabric of our outdoors, and when elected
officials are not representing the majority of their constituents,
we have a serious disconnect problem with our culture and our
I am surprised that there have not been
more letters regarding the legislative proposal to transfer federal
land to the state. I know there are sportsmen, like me, who are
dead set against it.
Perhaps many think this is just a crazy idea that won't go anywhere.
After all, we have had several legal experts indicate it would
be hard to force the feds to turn over these lands. But what if
the government decided to give the land to the state? You don't
think this is likely?
In their 2014 winter meeting, the Republican National Committee
passed a resolution calling for the government to turn over federal
lands to the states. The resolution states in part: "Resolved,
that the Republican National Committee calls upon all national
and state leaders and representatives to exert their utmost power
and influence to urge the imminent transfer of public lands to
all willing western states for the benefit of these western states
and for the nation as a whole."
As a long-time Republican, I feel betrayed by this resolution.
As of January, Republicans controlled the U.S. Senate and House.
Many predict that, due to unhappiness with some of Barack Obama's
policies, Republicans are poised to win the presidency in 2016.
After 2016, it is conceivable that a Republican-controlled Senate,
House and presidency could propose to give federal lands to the
If you are a hunter, fisherman, ATVer, snowmobiler or other recreationist,
you should be concerned where this is headed. The people who want
to take control of your federal lands plan to develop consumptive
resources while paying only lip-service to recreation.
Let's nip this in the bud at the state level before it gets to
the federal level. Please contact the Legislature and Gov. Matt
Mead and ask them to put an end to this unconscionable action."
Effort to protect domestic
sheep industry in Wyoming passes Senate panel
"The bill is a response to the Forest Service's
decision to limit domestic sheep grazing in Idaho's Payette National
Forest. The Forest Service said the move is an attempt to save
bighorn sheep populations from diseases carried by domestic sheep
in that area...
'The last thing we want to do in Wyoming is get in a big fight,'
Hicks said. 'This will result in the physical removal and most
likely the death of all of those bighorn sheep. We don't want
to embrace that.'
The legislation passed committee unanimously with an amendment
requiring the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to take actions
only considered within the state's sheep plan."
Migrations serve as Yellowstone’s
lungs by Todd Wilkinson
"What water represents as a circulatory system, wildlife migrations
serve metaphorically as Greater Yellowstone’s pulmonary system,
'showing how it breathes,' Middleton said.
Elk herds moving between seasonal ranges are akin to lungs inhaling
and exhaling, he explained. GPS collars, genetic tools, overflights
and remote cameras have helped open the eyes of scientists to
understand precisely how, why and where animals use landscapes.
Like brothers John and Frank Craighead’s work tracking grizzly
bears through radio telemetry a half a century ago, migration
study is one of the next great frontiers."
Sportsmen's Act of 2015
There are some plus and minus' to this package,
as with all package deals.
of Sportsmen's Act of 2015
the BLM Bullwhacker Access preliminary scoping -
"I had another commitment that I would have canceled if I had
known that Mr. Benes was going to bring up the exchange again.
I feel a bit blindsided. It doesn’t seem that Benes is really
working for the Public. It appears he has some other agenda to
satisfy. "- John a local avid outdoorsman hunter
I would like to thank the following
contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
and Gloria Olson