the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"
ugly power politics of using
MTFWP / public hunting vs. ranching private property rights
is just the right context to illustrate his fantasy
of governing by feudalism in the 21st century."
This last week I have been to 11 meetings
in 10 days. Some highlights of a few meetings are below, but I need
to fully write up this elk shoulder season bs with its documentation
in the next couple of days, which will take more space than a general
- I went to a specific county,
ordered and purchased a big map of the county roads, public
and private, for a private landowner illegal access blocking project I will
send out in a few days. There are over 7 sites in this county
that I will begin documenting.
- Public Lands Water Access
Association had their annual meeting here in Bozeman last
Saturday. Dale Spartas and I have been appointed by the Board
to head up a Bozeman Chapter (Gallatin Valley/Livingston) of
PLWA for boots on the ground and local involvement. For those
(all ages, especially you Gen Xers and Millennials) that appreciate
access to our public lands and waters, whether you hunt, fish,
hike, camp, mountain bike, etc., and are interested in participating,
send an email with contact information and we will get in
touch with you. Look forward to building a broader membership
of public access advocates in the area.
- Helena for the EQC meeting
on June 4th, in which FWP Dir. Hagener was to address the FWP
FTE cuts that targeted the bison position and 40 yr. FWP employee
Arnie Dood. Video:
At 4:15:34 Dir. Hagener addresses the FWP FTE cuts, at 4:30:51
the public comment begins with Dyrck Van Hyning from Great Falls,
Kathryn QannaYahu of EMWH, Harold Johns the new president of
Skyline Sportsmen from Butte who was speaking for himself and
Gail Richardson from Bozeman. At the 4:56:9 Sen. Phillips questions
Dir. Hagener about this bison position cut. Thank you to all
who could not make it and sent in letters to the EQC. Interestingly, just as
Dir. Hagener began addressing this subject and our following
public comments, Sen. Brenden left the room. After our public
comments when they adjourned, 3 of us went downstairs to the
cafeteria for lunch and passed Sen. Brendan coming back up.
He was not in the room when I asked the rhetorical question
if his public threats that we were going to pay the consequences,
if this bison position cut and Arnie Dood in particular, were
part of those consequences? But more importantly, it is on the
- Update on the Native Species
Biologist Bison position and Arnie Dood - When I was at the
Yellowstone National Park Bison Scoping Meeting (information
in the Yellowstone section below) on the 2nd, I asked Region
3's Wildlife Chief, Howard Burt, if he had received my email
requesting the job description of the brucellosis technician
offered to Arnie Dood. He said that they did not have that job
description finalized yet, it would be by July 1st. I asked
how FWP could offer Arnie a job that the description and pay
would not be finalized on until July 1st when the draft letter
he was given notifying him of the termination of the bison position
stated that he had till June 15th to make a decision and if
he did not accept this position he would be terminated? Howard
didnt know, said that I should speak with Ken McDonald who served
the letter to Arnie. As yet, FWP still has not provided a finalized
job description with pay to Arnie Dood. Their position, stated
by Hagener at the EQC is, "It's a personnel issue and we're
working on it."
- On Thursday the 11th, I
attended our Region 3 office for the FWP
Commission meeting to speak on the Elk Shoulder Season debacle,
as well as the bison quota issue. The whole of the wildlife
division meeting was slated for 9:55-1:15. We did not get finished
with the first issue - elk shoulder season, until about 1:30.
Commissioners Tourtlotte and Vermillion asked a number of great
questions. Originally FWP proposed that there be a 30 day public
comment period and the Commissioners moved for a 60 day thankfully.
Shoulder Season Audio: 1:51:15 began the public comment
period with Senator Kary (SB 245) opening, 1:55:20 Rod Bullis
from Helena, 1:56:41 Brian McCulloch Helena, 2:00:15 Ron Wetch
(sp?) rancher in Region 2, 2:09:48 Nick Gevock for MWF, 2:12:30
Jay Bodner for Montana Stock Growers Association, 2:19:26 Paul
Ellis Sunday Creek Outfitters Bozeman, 2:26:58 JW Westman for
Laurel Rod & Gun Club and Montana Sportsmens Alliance, 2:36:14
Kathryn QannaYahu Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat.
Some of the controversy of the SB 245 conversation is already
occurring with this shoulder season proposal, including a statement
of "traditional" hunters.
- Also passed at the
Commission meeting was the release of the Draft
EIS, Bison Conservation and Management in Montana, which
has issues right away. One, Arnie Dood as the bison biologist
involved in much of the scoping and author of the Bison ecology
book for FWP should have been heavily involved in this EIS and
wasnt, which may explain another obvious issue - that of the
alternatives provided, which are all a direct production of
the FWP bison Working Group (I attended and took audio of the
meetings) which was heavily stacked with ag interests. So where
are the alternatives produced from all the other comments that
were submitted by the PUBLIC and the science? In April, an earlier
draft was sent out, which showed Alternative 4 specific to the
CMR area of public lands, which is what that sub group produced.
On April 3rd, Sen. Taylor Brown, one of the working group members
and an ag rep replied, objecting to the specific location, "My
concern is that the attached EIS Update lists the Charles M.
Russell National Wildlife Refuge as a 'Montana Site that Appears
to Fit the Sideboards of Alternative #4'. I would question whether
that is the case." As a result of Sen. Browns email objections
after public comments had ended, the site specific aspect of
Alternative #4, which he was not a part of the subgroup that
produced it and presented it during the work groups, brought
about a change in the draft that is supposed to serve the public,
not just his special interests. Once again, special interest
ag legislators are interfering with the public process involving
our Fish, Wildlife & Parks. If he didnt like Alternative
# 4, then Sen. Brown didnt have to choose it when he submits
his public comments, but he has denied the rest of the Montana
Public the opportunity to advocate Alternative #4, which previously
was site specific. I will get his letter and the screen shot
of the earlier version online soon.
You’ve probably never heard
of the Wilks brothers. They’re about to take away your property
"It should come as no surprise that there was big oil money behind
the new Texas law that stops local government from regulating oil
and gas. What might shock you is that the same money is about to
be used for the same purpose in Montana...
Will you be surprised when the Wilkses fund a 2017 legislative effort
in Helena to strip local communities of their right to regulate
what happens on their own land?
You shouldn’t be. They’re already hard at work getting it done.
In 2012, just after they started to purchase Montana land, the Wilks
brothers and their wives were the largest individual contributors
to Montana state legislators. According to the National Institute
on Money in State Politics, they contributed a collective total
of $51,040. Each of them gave to more than 70 candidates, all Republicans,
and in most instances, they each gave the maximum allowed by law.
Time to wake up folks. They’ve bought and paid to have your rights
taken away by the Montana Legislature, just like they did in Texas."
Access Needs a Second Act
"If you’re comfortable leaving the fate of our hunting and fishing
traditions in the hands of the same dudes who nearly brought down
our economy in the last decade, then by all means join with Montana
Sen. Jennifer Fielder of Thompson Falls, the American Legislative
Exchange Council and the United Property Owners of Montana. They
are all devout opponents of the Montana tradition of hunting and
fishing on public lands.
But if you think these traditions are worth fighting for, then I
don’t think you can afford to stand on the sidelines much longer.
The privatizers got their heads handed to them in the last Montana
legislative session, but they are not going away."
Groups bring private hunting
schemes to Montana
"The welfare queens of wildlife have made their way into Montana,
hiding behind sage grouse, a way to push their agenda of private
hunting and fishing. The culprits, the fattest hogs at the government
entitlement trough when it comes to wildlife groups with clever
names like Big Game Forever and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife...
Now BGF has a staffer in Montana and is making the rounds to sporting
shows, talking about sage grouse. What’s omitted is the fact that
Gov. Steve Bullock’s sage grouse conservation plan just passed with
bipartisan support, and we’re preparing real, on the ground conservation
work to conserve this native bird.
Wake up Montanans, pay attention to these two groups, working
to bring their private hunting schemes to our state."
Taking on Ivory:
Attorneys general asked to investigate lands transfer leader
"Weismann, who worked at the U.S. Department of Justice and the
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington prior to founding
the Campaign for Accountability this spring, doesn't feel the lack
of Montana taxpayer money going to the ALC—and, subsequently, into
Ivory's pocket—makes her case for an investigation by Attorney General
Tim Fox any less strong. Her complaint characterizes Ivory's late
2013 tour through Ravalli, Sanders, Flathead, Mineral and Lincoln
counties as one 'paid for with tax- payer funds from dozens of counties
in other Western states.' The complaint also claims Ivory 'appears
to have committed the offense of solicitation by encouraging others,
including Montana State Senator Jennifer Fielder, to solicit funds
from Montana officials to fuel the activities of ALC.'
'It certainly is the case that [Montana counties] haven't joined
up, but he has tried,' Weismann says. 'And in our view, that's the
to know Glacier National Park
Below are free days at national parks. No entrance fee will be charged
on these days.
••Aug. 25 — National Park Service Birthday
•Sept. 26 — Public Lands Day
•Nov. 11 —Veterans Day
Discussion continues on expanding FWP funding beyond license
"A diverse collection of conservation groups sought “common ground”
in broadening funding and support for Montana’s wildlife management
at a day-long meeting in Helena Wednesday... While the groups acknowledged
the array of ideologies and agendas in the room, they did reach
a general sense of support for FWP and at least the exploration
of alternative funding sources.
'Regardless of your agenda, as long as FWP is at the helm and we
can broaden the base of support financially and sustainably, we
have an obligation to pass this on to our future generations,' said
Marc Cooke, president of Wolves of the Rockies."
Yellowstone Bison Management
Plan public comments are due in 2 days.
The link to submit public comments is on the left side of their
is the information flyer with the scoping alternatives. Please
consider Alternative 2,
which would protect the limited cattle operations that are further
away, while respecting these bison as wildlife, at least a step
in the direction of the elk. The bison disease genetics is different
than that of cattle and elk, which is why there has not been any
documented case of wild bison to cattle transmission of brucellosis
- ever. A number of the Paradise Valley brucellosis infections are
from cattle transmission, not wildlife - none from bison. We need
to make wildlife management decisions, not based on politics, but
based on the EVIDENCE. It is time to restore wild bison to Montana
Central Montana Resource Advisory Council will meet July 15th &
16th (3rd column, right side), 920
NE Main, Lewistown, Montana. On the agenda is an update on efforts
to restore access to the Bullwhacker area. For more information,
please contact Mark Albers, 406-791-7789.
BLM releases travel plan
for Belts; motorized users want new campground
"The BLM began accepting public comment June 1 and will continue
to do so through July 9 for proposed travel plan alternatives in
the Missouri River Foothills Planning Area, which will decide what
routes will be open or closed to motorized use. The BLM parcels
include a little more than 16 miles of roads, primitive roads and
trails currently open to motorized use. The plan contains one no-action
alternative that would maintain the status quo, and three action
alternatives newly designating several routes as open, closed or
"Can Wildlife-Friendly Beef
Help Ranchers And Conservationists Get Along?
Fifth-generation Montana rancher Michelle Fox remembers once reading
a passage from the journals of Lewis and Clark. The explorers were
describing a spot located near where her tribal reservation is today—the
view, back then, was 'black with buffalo,' Fox, a member of the
Gros Ventre Tribe, recalls. 'I was standing there, and it’s hard
for me to envision how it was,' she says... But Fox, whose land
adjoins the APR area, is not an opponent, and neither are all ranchers...
At Fox’s ranch, these improvements look relatively simple so far.
She’s replaced barbed wire fence with wildlife-friendly fencing,
which is smooth at the bottom so elk, deer, and other animals can
slip underneath. She’s gotten her children to stop shooting at prairie
dogs, a common practice because many ranchers believes the holes
they leave are bad for the cows and pastures (though there's some
research that shows otherwise). Eventually, her goal is to restore
the natural hydrology to her lands as well, rather than using irrigation.
Fox's long heritage on the land has made her feel a personal stake
in APR’s conservation mission, but she was still at first apprehensive
about joining Wild Sky. In the end, she says, it was a business
decision for her and her family. With the extra money she’s gotten
in the last year, she’s also been able to improve her barn, build
a greenhouse, and generally help her family live more self-sufficiently
from the land. After she and her husband made several tweaks to
her operation to meet Wild Sky beef standards, their first calf
that will eventually be sold as Wild Sky meat was born in March."
Speak Up and Oppose
the Proposed Tongue River Railroad
"Arch Coal wants to build a massive coal mine in the Otter Creek
Valley in southeast Montana. And, in order to send that coal to
other places (e.g., foreign markets), Arch Coal and BNSF Railway
want to build a new railroad (the Tongue River Railroad) in the
Both the proposed coal mine and the proposed railroad are horrible
ideas, and we strongly oppose both proposed projects.
Right now, the Surface Transportation Board is accepting public
comments on the recently released draft environmental impact statement
(DEIS) for the proposed Tongue River Railroad.
The deadline for public comment is August 24th."
US: Exxon must pay $1M
penalty for 2011 Yellowstone River spill
"U.S. officials have rejected Exxon Mobil Corp.'s request to reconsider
a $1 million penalty imposed against the oil giant over a 63,000-gallon
crude spill into Montana's Yellowstone River. The U.S. Department
of Transportation on Friday ordered the Texas company to pay the
penalty within 20 days."
US agency takes
precautions after shots fired near contract employees on public
land in Nevada
"The federal Bureau of Land Management is taking safety precautions
and Las Vegas police are investigating after gunshots were fired
near a group of contract employees on public land in southern
Nevada where rancher and states' rights advocate Cliven Bundy's
cattle continue to roam."
New Proposal Would Give Western
Governors Unchecked Power Over America’s National Forests
"The U.S. Senate is expected to vote in the coming days on a proposal
that would give Western governors unprecedented power over the
management of national forests and American public lands in their
states, including the power to veto plans to restore forest health,
reduce wildfire risk, and expand access for hunting and fishing."
"Thanks for all of your hard work. Makes me sick to think of
the money they have and what they are doing with it. Long
live the Sportsman!" - TM
"Kathryn, just got this e-mail now. wanted to forward to you
just in case.
forgive me for wondering that you have seen it but just want to
thank you for all of your efforts, this is happening very fast
and it scares me - Groups
Bring Private Hunting Schemes To Montana link." - T (this
kind of networking of information is what will make a more educated
and stronger public, thanks for the heads up, I had not seen it!)
"Nice Job Kat! I always enjoy your tireless effort on my behalf!
It is true that we always think someone else will be our voice
until our voices are silent ! GET involved take a few minutes
to contact your local representatives, drop them a letter or e-mail
or call them!
Don’t wait till your favorite spot is gone and it is too late!
God knows the soapboxes I have been on and plan to stay there
till I die!" - Dan Wildin
"I LOVE your letter, but would really request you NOT use that
pale greenish font on white, I am having a terrible time reading
it. Of course my 83 year old eyes might be the problem?>??"
- Russ Vance (Russ is the second set
of older eyes to have an issue with the spring green color I used
for my personal comments, to differentiate my comments from those
of the quoted articles, as well as a color psychology reason.
So lets try teal in bold to see how that works.)
"Kat, thanks again for all you do. The newsletter.....the research....the
public document requests....and most of all the processing of
all you have acquired as info. I do worry you will burn out at
the pace you have chosen, and we would be much poorer if you withdrew
from this frustrating thing called conservation. Take care of
yourself first." - Greg M (I actually
recharge from this kind of quality of life pursuit, so I am afraid
that conservation is stuck with me. :) )
"First- Thank you, thank you, thank you for EMWH. Your advocacy
for the public trust seems inexhaustible.
Was trying to find the retaliatory op-ed Sen. John Brenden wrote
just after Gov. Bullock vetoed his bill giving county commissioners
final say on bison transplants outside of YNP and stumbled on
this article. Maybe you've already seen it?
Brenden's ugly power politics of using MTFWP / public hunting
vs. ranching private
property rights is just the right context to illustrate his fantasy
of governing by
feudalism in the 21st century." - KM
would like to thank the following contributors for helping to support
EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Dale Spartas of DCS Photo
Dr. Bill Mealer ( I owe Dr. Mealer
a huge debt for his referral to Dr. Olson in Bozeman whose NeuralField
Therapy has been key to my getting my brain back after the accident
at the beginning of December, saying, "We've got to get Kathryn's
If you would like to further this work and research,
please click to contribute