Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"and in America,
wildlife is connected to the People."

Click to enlarge

Happy Independence Day, which not only marks our independence from English colonial rule without representation, but the freedom to abandon the aristocratic, elitist, privatizing policies, such as William the Conqueror's "Kings Deer" and the King's Forest. In America, we have been blessed with Public Lands/Waters and Public Wildlife - the Public Trust Doctrine, which holds that certain natural resources, such as lands, waters, fish and wildlife, are held in trust by the government for the benefit of the people.

In a way, this is like - Happy Public Trust Doctrine Day!

There are a number of subjects I have been documenting, some like the illegal (MCA 45-8-115) "No Trespassing" sign by a private property owner on a public access county road that leads to our public Forest Service lands when MCA 45-6-201 states, " (3) To provide for effective posting of private land through which or along which the public has an unfenced right-of-way by means of a public road, a landowner shall:
     (a) place a conspicuous sign no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway where it enters the private land, stating words substantially similar to "PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING OFF ROAD NEXT ___ MILES"; or
     (b) place notice, as described in subsection (2)(a), no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway at regular intervals of not less than one-fourth mile along the roadway where it borders unfenced private land, except that orange markings may not be placed on posts where the public roadway enters the private land. "  This sign is about 12' from centerline, about 3' from the edge of the cattle guard, therefore giving the appearance that everything beyond is their private property and "Trespassers" will be prosecuted. All other landowners beyond that point had signs properly placed on their fencelines parallel to the public access county road. If I had not already known this was a public access road, all indications from that sign, would have been that I would be entering private property and trespassing. I will be notifying the county commissioners there, then posting the documentation on the Unlocking Montana's Future Public Access pages.

Below are two samples of fences erected by a landowner, not far from public forest lands with wildlife, that do not comply with the max height and construction of Montana Legal fencing of 42-48", "(3) fences constructed of standard woven wire, securely fastened to substantial posts not more than 30 feet apart, with two equidistant barbed wires placed above the woven wire which must  be as strong and as well calculated to protect enclosures as those in subsections (1) through (3)."

These fences in several areas are built inside an already existing barbed wire fence, about 3 feet inside, with about a foot of the fence angled inside. I photographed antelope nearby, but there is no way antelope can go under, through or over these fences. As you can see from the bump outs of the angled portions, deer and elk are trying to jump causing the fence to rise and in some places is being broken. When they land, they might be landing on or between the barbed wire fence.
Click images for higher resolution larger views.

Sadly, on the 28th, Jim Borgreen died while scouting for a moose in the Little Belts. I never

Jim Borgreen, Montana Wildlife Artistmet Jim personally, but his brother John, a friend with an awesome sense of humor, introduced me to Jim's wildlife artistry. John, I am sorry your, your family's and Montana's loss.

"Jimmy was a fine man, husband, father, brother, grand father and friend. He was so loved and respected by his many students , but he also was a dedicated and passionate conservationist and protector of our outdoor hunting and fishing heritage. He not only donated countless $$$ of his wildlife art for fund raising but he also committed 100s of hours doing conservation work to preserve , protect and promote habitat and wildlife. The Beckman WMA , Judith MWA ,Beartooth WMA were some of the area’s he worked to protect. He was also a longtime seasonal
employee of FW&P doing a wide array of work , from maintenance on WMAs to avian flu research to sage grouse and sharptail lek counts.

He really worked hard to improve and promote positive sportsmen/dept./landowner relations on a personal level. He would had deliver small original art work as thank you’s for being allowed to go on private land for the lek counts. He was an avid hunter and angler , and passed it on to his kids and countless students .

As you can see Kathryn, I could go on and on about Jim, but you get the picture."

Glacier Country
Warden Looking for Tips on Dog Poisoning Incident near Condon
"During the third week of June, on two separate days individuals took their dogs on walks on Owl Creek road south of Bigfork. In both instances, after arriving back home, the dogs (both labs) started convulsing and died shortly thereafter. Due to the similarity in these cases the veterinarian took samples from the second dog and sent them to a lab. The veterinarian believed the symptoms resembled strychnine poisoning.

Wardens concerned with potential wildlife poisoning, along with the owners of the dogs, retraced the path the dogs had walked in an effort to find some sort of attractant or poison. One of the dog owners found what appeared to be colored grain in two different locations along Owl Creek road. Samples were submitted to the MT Department of Agriculture, who had them analyzed. Both samples returned positive for strychnine. Wardens believe the strychnine was placed in hamburger and deposited along the road.

Anyone with information regarding this case can call 1-800-TIP-MONT. Callers can remain anonymous and a reward may be available for information leading to a conviction. People with information can also call FWP Warden Chuck Bartos at 253-2934."

FWP confirms lion’s paw in trap is authentic
The State Crime Lab has determined the mountain lion’s paw found in a trap in southern Ravalli County last April was not a hoax, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials... Ruark said a friend discovered the trap and paw while antler hunting in the Reimel Creek area, east of the Sula Ranger District office. Ruark’s friend said there were deep claw marks in a tree near the trap where the mountain lion stood up on its back legs and tried to climb...'We did look at it and tried to verify it one way or another,' he said. 'With the evidence that we have available to use, we can’t say that this was set up. There’s nothing to support that.' "

Southwest Montana
Grant will help sheep foundation buy wildlife corridor near Anaconda
"The Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Sheep Foundation recently received a grant which will go toward buying and creating a wildlife corridor along Highway 1, seven miles west of Anaconda...The 224 acres the foundation is trying to buy is adjacent to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Garrity Wildlife Management Area and will help create a corridor for wild animals, particularly Lost Creek bighorn sheep, to travel through."

Groups dedicate newest section of Helena National Forest
"Nineteen former mining claims south east of York were dedicated Friday afternoon as the newest segment of the Helena National Forest.

The coalition of groups that worked to make the 386 acres in York Gulch public land for wildlife habitat and recreation joined on the property to celebrate the culmination of their efforts. The project included an inholding owned by the Montana Outdoor Legacy Foundation, and the acquisition of neighboring property from former owner Betty Tiddy of Helena."

Yellowstone Country
Due to FWP administration's mishandling of Arnie Dood, a 40 year FWP employee, and his most current wild bison position, Arnie is now officially retired from FWP. It is a sad thing when our best public servants are being targeted, this Stepford Wiving of FWP into an ag agency. But thankfully, the expertise, service and Public Trust advocacy of this man does not end with FWP's employment. ;) Thank you Arnie, for all your years of service to the public of Montana and to our fish and wildlife.

Roam, Roam on the Range
This Montana cattle ranch is trying to ensure its operations benefit wildlife—and yes, that means wolves, too.

"Cattle ranchers have traditionally been hostile to large carnivores; wolves were nearly hunted, trapped, and poisoned to extinction in the Lower 48 a few decades ago, due in part to the threat they posed to livestock. Zaranek, who has done wolf research in Yellowstone and Canada and now works for the Centennial Valley Association, is trying to ease that relationship. She is testing whether range riders on horseback and ATV can minimize conflicts between livestock and predators.

Zaranek and two other riders she oversees are looking out for cattle from a half-dozen ranches in the area, including the J Bar L, a 30,000-acre operation where her husband works. These cowboys, who all happen to be women, are just one of the ways J Bar L is trying to manage its grass-fed beef operation to benefit livestock, people, wildlife, and habitat."

Grayling returned to native stream in Yellowstone
"Grayling Creek in northwest Yellowstone National Park will once again be home to a population of its namesake — Arctic grayling.

This spring, NPS crews hatched nearly 100,000 grayling eggs in the upper reaches of Grayling Creek. Native westslope cutthroat trout are also being reintroduced — nearly 700 fish and more than 10,000 eggs have been stocked already in 2015.

Introductions such as these for grayling and westslope cutthroat trout will be occurring for at least three years at Grayling Creek."

Central Montana
Marias River is secluded and wild
"When Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks proposed a road through the Marias River Wildlife Management Area, BHA opposed the proposal and worked hard to make sure that road didn’t become a reality.

Recently, the group floated the river to celebrate its victory after the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission voted down the road proposal...

Other sportsmen’s groups also opposed it, including the Russell Country Sportsmen Association, arguing that buying land and then giving a portion of it away wasn’t a responsible use of sportsmen and women’s dollars."

There were actually many groups and individuals that participated in the public trust process, objecting to the land exchange and the road. This was very much a public effort.

Missouri River Country
2 bighorn rams killed after mixing with domestic sheep south of Malta
"Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Scott Thompson removed the sheep on June 24 over concerns that the domestic sheep could have been exposed to pneumonia that can decimate a bighorn herd."

Southeast Montana
Gary Hammond, an awesome Public Trust advocate and a great trust manger for the people of Montana, has just retired as the Region 5 Supervisor of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. While he was not the regional supervisor of the region I live, due to my research and some meetings/events in that area, I have had interactions with Gary, always finding him to be honorable. Among conservation hunter/anglers I have worked with from that region, Gary is always spoken of with great respect. Thank you for your service to the people and our fish/wildlife Gary. Your service in FWP will be missed.

Rand Paul Wants To Sell Off America’s Public Lands
"At a campaign stop in Nevada on Monday, Kentucky Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul called for the federal government to sell off and privatize America’s national forests and other public lands.

As part of his “Stand With Rand” tour, Sen. Paul told an audience in the Nevada town of Mesquite that the federal government is a “bully” and that national public lands should be under state and private control, as reported by CNN. 'You run into problems now with the federal government being, you know, this bully — this big huge government bully,' Paul said. 'You would have less of that if you had more local ownership of the land. State ownership would be better, but even better would be private ownership.' "

When I first began fighting on the Public Trust, and on some of the Federal Public Lands Transfer agenda, seeing strategic pieces showing up in my newsfeeds, this was before the National and state Republican Party's adopted Federal Lands Transfer as part of their platforms, people kept telling me that I was spinning my wheels "beating the drums" to advocate fighting against a Public Lands transfer that could not happen. One of their arguments at a forum was that congress would not approve such a thing, nor would a president. Well we have seen what congress passed already and now here is a presidential candidate saying, " 'I’d either sell or turn over all the land management to the states.' "  Voters need to take a serious look at who they are voting for, 'cause this is really happening.

It’s time to hold Bundy accountable for standoff
It came as little surprise that researchers collecting data from federal public lands near where Bundy illegally grazes his cattle recently came under gunfire. This after they were approached earlier in the day by Bundy and his son. Although Bundy denies having anything to do with the incident, he acknowledged in the press, “We don’t like them here bothering us.”

Whether Bundy is responsible for the gunfire or not, his actions and comments make it pretty clear that he is asserting control over land he does not own. Is this the new normal in the West, where any anti-government bully can use intimidation to carve his own personal fiefdom out of land that actually belongs to all of us?

Interfering with researchers or government employees is bad enough, but what happens if a Bundy or one of his followers becomes bothered by tourists on a camping trip, a rancher with a valid grazing permit, or even an energy project?

Interior Secretary: Cliven Bundy Will Be Held Accountable
"Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose states-rights battle with the government to graze his cattle on public lands thrust him into the national spotlight, will be held accountable for the armed standoff his fight triggered with federal officials, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says.

'Cliven Bundy has had multiple court orders to remove his cattle from federal public lands and he has not paid his grazing fees and he has not abided by the law,'Jewell told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 'We will continue to pursue that.' "

Finding my way back to me

So like many veterans, I finally had to save myself, moving alone to Colorado and finding immediate solace in the mountains. It was quiet there, and so much bigger than my problems. I found myself after so long feeling alive and in the moment; I cried every day and every night while on an eight-day solo camping trip. Responding to a call to from a long-distant home I'd forgotten about, I walked through the woods I'd never seen and wandered like I did as a child, peering up at the stars. I was home alone and fine with it. It was the medication that I wanted and needed.

"Great newsletter, Kathryn.  Thanks" Doug Peacock

"Kat  YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!! Thanks to you and John Gibson(PLWA) for your tireless effort and yes on my behalf! I am great full for your stewardship and commitment!" Dan Wildin

"Dynamite column, Kathryn. Strong and true.  Private power will take everything from those who yield to it." Paul Edwards

"K – great work, your video was very professional. " Lee Gustafson

One conservation hunter wrote, expressing concern and asking if these access projects I have begun here were a duplication of efforts from PLWA. I am a PLWA member, in contact with PLWA about what I am working on, so that there is no duplication of efforts. EMWH is listed on the PLWA site as a public lands partner, as they are on EMWH. With nearly 2 million acres of public lands inaccessible and that number growing, there is unfortunately more access work than there are people willing to take these issues on, we need more people fighting back, not less. When just clearing this statement before sending this out, with PLWA's president, John Gibson, he replied that if the public would just take the extra step, by contacting their county commisioners to determine if a road is even public or not, that would be a big help, as they get so many contacts about road closures they cannot look into all of them.

I would like to thank the following contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.

Thank you to the conservation warrior who saw a need for a video camera for this Public Trust documentation, "It will be my donation to our shared vision!" Thank you and it will be greatly used.

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

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

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