the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"
love and value of public land has always been very strong in me,"
- Joe Gutkowski
In October I took 2 trips to Lewistown, flown to the Durfee Hills
to document the fence situation, one took place over 4 days. I
am now creating an interactive map where the viewer will be able
to click on hotspots to see the pics, videos, documents associated
with this fencing issue. As soon as I get this done, I will send
the link out in the next Newsletter. A big thank you to the public
hunters that cared enough about this situation to be involved
- the pilots that flew me in, Ben and Brittany who put me up in
their camp for the longer trip, and Dr. Bill Mealer for the loan
of his Garmin GPS with the property owner, GIS programs on it
and last but not least the dog watcher. :)
Thank you to those that emailed BLM Jamie Connell. I was called
the day after and notified that BLM would be doing a Cadastral
survey and investigation. Additionally, with the documentation
I took into the State DNRC office in Lewistown and filing the
required letter, Clive Rooney notified me that they are also dealing
with their survey and investigation. For the State portion, Montana
Legal Fencing laws apply.
Sportsmen concerned over Durfee
Hills fence, BLM to conduct Survey by Charlie
Dennison (PDF version, front page, continued on page 8)
The Durfee Hills, located approximately 25 air miles from Lewistown
in the Little Snowy Mountains, has been the topic of many conversations
on “Hunt Talk,” a blog (actually a forum) on hunting
issues moderated by Randy Newberg of Bozeman. A popular elk hunting
location accessible only by plane, the Durfee Hills makes up approximately
2,785 acres of BLM land. In March, the Wilks brothers attempted
to exchange land for it, but a petition created by a group of
sportsmen succeeded in shutting down the land swap...
Durfee drama continues, as the fence has generated much response
on “Hunt Talk.” Kathryn QannaYahu, founder of Enhancing Montana’s
Wildlife and Habitat Organization in Bozeman, is one of many who
joined the thread regarding the Wilks brothers’ fence. “I heard
rumors about the fence after the land exchange got stopped,” QannaYahu
said. “On Sept. 5, we started seeing photo documentation of what
was going on out there. "...
“People are participating in their right to hike, camp and hunt
all over the country,” she said. “It is our right to make sure
our public lands are protected.”
An avid reader of Hunt Talk, QannaYahu said she became more and
more passionate about the fencing issue. Last week, she decided
to see the fence for herself, tagging along with some hunters
on a flight into the Durfee Hills. “I took top-and bottom-measurements
of the fence,” QannaYahu said. An advocate for “removing and mitigating
some of the obstacles that wildlife and habitat face,” QannaYahu
was concerned with the height of the fence. (more
than just the height of the fence)
Nov. 5, FWP Region 3 Supervisor
Candidate Forum - 6PM, Best Western Gran Tree
Inn in Bozeman (1325 N. 7th Ave).
Nov. 6, Region 1 Supervisor
They didnt get
the answer they wanted the first time,
so they extended the public comment another 30 days. Public
Comment Extended on Marias River WMA Access Agreement
- What is involved here? A historic prescriptive easement being
blocked by a landowner whose cattle and domestic bison are trespassing
on our FWP Wildlife Management Area without a grazing lease (stealing
from public taxpayers and rewarding him?)!
VOTE Mike Wheat -
When you vote (hopefully based on our Public Trust issues which
are currently on the line), please dont forget Mike Wheat for
our Montana Supreme Court. When conservation issues have to
be litigated, they may end up at the Montana Supreme Court, like
the Ruby River case.
matters, vote for Wheat
understands Montana law, VanDyke recruited from Texas
Texas Fracking Billionaires
Gave Money to 70 Percent of Montana Republican Legislators, 2012
(This is an article Follow The Money wrote
in 2013. Not all the reports are in from candidates on contributions,
I think the next reporting is in a week, so figures for this year
will be more representative closer to the election, but the data
and application is very pertinent.)
State's largest landowners
keep expanding by Brett French
"In Montana alone the Wilkses own 341,845
acres, according to Montana Cadastral mapping figures, making them
the largest private landowners in the state. That figure now tops
Plum Creek Timber Co., which for years was the largest landowner
in the state.
The Wilkses, on the
other hand, have staked out
the majority of their Montana property in central Montana. Looking
at a map, the Wilkses’ holdings have been clustered near where Fergus,
Musselshell and Golden Valley counties adjoin — expanding out from
their first purchase of the N Bar Ranch onto adjoining property."
Now, I do not begrudge people purchasing
and owning land (that is their right), but the fence issues that
affect our wildlife, unlawfully inclosing our Public Lands, possible
privatization of our wildlife, cutting off public access to Public
Lands and public hunter harassment are a different matter.
Custer-Gallatin National Forests
It has been busy, so I apologize that I still do not have the audio
from the Sept. mtg and notes up yet, but y'all might want to take
the time to listen to the audio from the Oct. meeting. This working
group was created by county commissioners from 6 Montana counties,
they added a 7th. Then these commissioners voted on who else they
want in the working group to add legitimacy to it and for court
purposes (per their statements).
Wilderness Man, The story
of Joe Gutkoski
"By the time Joe retired in 1981 he had put in 33 years with the
Forest Service. He spent much of that time preserving and growing
public lands, and even now at 88 he continues to pursue those goals.
Most impressive is that Joe stayed true to himself throughout his
career, even when his goals were in conflict with his own agency.
I tell him the Forest Service was lucky to have him. He shrugs,
saying that a lot of people would disagree—but I don’t think he
gives a damn. What he does give a damn about are bison, rivers,
mountains, clean air, and wild country."
On a personal note, Joe
Gutkoski is one of my Montana treasures. Joe, as well as Jim Posewitz,
Ron Moody, Norm Bishop and Jim Bailey are walking encyclopedias
of knowledge, always eager to share and for a researcher like me,
that is true wealth.
Lands Guide - latest publication
This handbook is great reference material. I picked mine up from
MSU Publishing Office, but
you can order it here. It has charts, like the one of all 56
Montana counties with the listing of all State Public Land Ownership
and another for Federal Public Land Ownership. For example, down
here in Gallatin County there are 49,912 acres of DNRC land, 11,457
acres of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, then the smaller amounts owned
by by various other State agencies. For the Federal Public Lands
in Gallatin County there are 7,043 acres of BLM, 174 acres US Fish
& Wildlife Services, 64,505 National Park Service and 79 acres
for other Federal Lands. The Guide also lists laws that pertain
to the Public Land Ownership such as the Taylor Grazing Act, Clean
Water Act, Fish and Wildlife Act, National Environmental Policy
Act, etc.Great reference book that is easy to reference at Public
What Transferring Lands Would
"As a former director of the state’s
Department of Resources and Conservation (DNRC), former county commissioner,
and as a landowner in Teton County, I do know a thing or two about
land management, and I have a few questions for Fielder and other
proponents of this loony idea to transfer federal lands."
Defuse the West -
Public-land employees are easy targets for a violent, government-hating
"We know about these incidents, and more,
because High Country News has launched a sweeping investigation
to unearth the official reports, using the Freedom of Information
Act, or FOIA. We’ve focused on threats and violence against employees
of two key federal agencies — the Forest Service and the Bureau
of Land Management — both on- and off-duty, from 2010 to early 2014.
The agencies have not yet provided HCN with all of the information
we’ve requested, but what they’ve divulged so far reveals an ominous
pattern of hostility toward government employees."
The Land Grab Out West
"LIKE a rerun of a bad Western, the battle over ownership of America’s
public lands has revived many a tired and false caricature of those
of us whose livelihoods and families are rooted in the open spaces
of the West."
DEQ report: Majority of Montana's
"The report identifies grazing on riverbanks
or shorelines as the No. 1 confirmed cause of poorer water quality,
affecting 136 bodies of water. Irrigated crop production comes next,
affecting 52 water bodies."
Water Quality Assessment Report 2014
Taxpayer subsidized logging
make no sense
"The Gazette found the Forest Service in Montana generated $5.4
million in revenue 2013, of which $4.1 million came from timber
sales. But here’s the rub: that amounts to only about 2.2 percent
of the $179 million the Forest Service spent in Montana in 2013
on discretionary projects, timber sale preparation, salaries, and
transportation. Maintaining campgrounds and trails and cleaning
outhouses represents a small portion of the Forest Service budget
in Montana and that was mostly off-set by the $1.3 million in revenue
the agency collected from recreation fees in 2013. In other words,
the Forest Service in Montana spent $179 million, mostly on timber
sales, in Montana but only received $4.1 million in revenue from
these sales. They lost millions on logging."
Leave Wilderness Alone
"What wilderness travelers always seem to bring back from the wild—just
as surely as near-death survivors bring back tales of light at the
end of a tunnel—is a sense of having encountered something true,
organic, and whole. What deconstructionists bring back from their
reading of theory is exactly the opposite, their sense of a morass
of incompatible meanings and no truth at all.
No wonder the two camps don’t get along."
used elk vaccine called ineffective
Widely used elk vaccine called
"Wyoming Game and Fish will continue using a brucellosis vaccine
on elk even though the agency’s research says it has not stopped
brucellosis-induced abortions and may increase the percentage of
elk testing positive for the disease."
Wildlife commission rejects
shipping sheep out of Montana
"But after hearing from
multiple people who were opposed to the plan, Montana Fish and
Wildlife commissioners meeting in Bozeman voted against the agency’s
Commissioners said relocating sheep out of state should be a last
resort, and that allowing the wildlife agency to do so now may
cause officials to scale back their search for suitable in-state
The commissioners urged the agency to speed up its study of the
health risks of transferring sheep between existing herds and
left open the possibility of changing the state’s bighorn sheep
Wild Bison Herd Relocation
" 'While I encourage bison restoration to the tribe and for their
cultural purposes, as a member of the hunting community, as a
conservationist, I would very much like to see wild bison restored
to Montana for the public trust,' Conservationist Kathryn Qannayahu
This herd was deemed
wildlife, had been through a 5 year quarantine period, was under
FWP's jurisdiction as wildlife, paid for with sportsmen's dollars
and we just gave away a brucellosis free herd to a Sovereign Nation,
just as if we had given them to Canada. Now while I admire and
encourage bison restoration to the Tribes, these bison, Yellowstone
National Park genetics, were meant for wild bison restoration
in Montana. The Interagency Bison Management Plan was created
in 2000. These bison had five years in quarantine. How much frickin
time does it take to restore wildlife to a piece of Public Lands
in Montana? And we just gave them away because it was politically
convenient instead of scientifically managing our wildlife. As
I stated to the FWP Commission, I was glad that the Bighorn Sheep
decision came first, because the Commissioners listened to the
Public stating we wanted to keep those Bighorns in Montana for
Montanans, rather than giving them away to another state when
we need to grow our Bighorns with so many dieoffs that have taken
place. Yet, they turned around and gave away our wild bison when
we have NO RESTORED WILD BISON POPULATION ON MONTANA PUBLIC
Into The Bear's Den by Dave Stalling
"A quote about grizzlies from writer Bob McMeans also came to
mind: 'We must stay out of their bedrooms.' Leave them space,
is what he meant, keep some country wild. Stop building homes
and roads and trails everywhere. But just then it had a more literal
meaning for me, so Larry stood ready with pepper spray while I
continued digging. Soon enough, we reached a dark tunnel under
the rocks. With headlamp on, I cautiously climbed in, barely squeezing
my way through an opening as wide as my shoulders into a dusky
room the size of a small tent. Luckily, no one was home. A musky
odor remained, along with a soft bed made of bear grass. Hoar
frost hung from the ceiling where moisture rising from the bear
all winter froze to the granite wall.
And there was hair, lots of hair."
Who We Are - Hunting Video
I am concerned about my food source, the quality of life for the
animals that I eat, just as I do organic, permaculture gardening
for my plant foods or harvesting from the wild. This video shows
that respect for wild things and wild places.
I would like to thank the following
contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Bonnie Lynn, whose donation purchased an
OCR program to aid in FOIA document hinderances. See when you scan
a document for PDF, you can scan it for word searches, text copying.
But my APHIS FOIA are sent as pic PDF's, which I am sure is intentional.
They also run numerous documents together (I have 4 - 800 page documents
they sent), which means I have to separate them back to their original
pages. Electronically fighting for our Public Trust. :)