the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"
not only the public land behind the gate,
but also our cherished public wildlife,
and thatís wrong"
- John Gibson
As some of you may have noticed, I have restructured the content
into a geographical format, rather than just Public Lands or Public
Wildlife because some issues fit into both. It also helps to show
that these issue are right here in our yards - our backyards,
our front yards, our neighbors yards. This is where we live, where
we recreate, where we do business. Montana, its mountains, rivers,
wildlife, are but a few of the things that make it so frickin
awesome and need to be fought for, so I felt that needed to be
Additionally, I receive comments from all the newsletters, many
with some great comments, thoughts, ideas or just plain passion.
I decided to share some/parts of those with permission of course.
So I created a section at the bottom - Comments From EMWH Subscribers.
Bills aimed at assuring access to
public lands by Karl Puckett
"Landowners who illegally gate roads would face stiffer fines
and need to show proof of ownership before blocking access under
bills introduced in the Montana Legislature... A disputed road
would have to remain open until itís proven to be a private road...
For years, Gibson said, Montana hunters, anglers and others or
recreate on public land have had to fight battles to reopen gated
public roads. The bills are meant to address the issue so the
public can enjoy public lands, he said."
FWP group develops hunter-ethics
campaign by Laura Lundquist
"A citizenís group hopes to reduce
hunting conflicts by encouraging better behavior... 'Social
approval drives ethics. We canít change values, but we can maybe
change behavior,' Sinay said."
A shamless plug for Montana ethical, conservation hunter author
Jim Posewitz book - Beyond
Control or collaborate? Legislators
push forward with federal land transfer efforts
by Laura Lundquist
" 'Itís more waste of Montanansí money,' said Land Tawney, Backcountry
Hunters and Anglers executive director. 'Theyíve not come up with
a plan on how theyíd manage public lands in Montana. If we go
with her path, it means more taxes and less access. They havenít
talked to economists about how this might affect Montanaís $6
billion outdoor industry.'
Worried that the effects would be costly, Business for Montana
Outdoors, which represents more than 100 business owners, opposes
federal land transfer. 'The state should find more productive
ways to work with our federal government rather than make a colossal
mistake, which would threaten emerging markets that rely on Montanaís
true competitive advantage in the presence and access to our public
lands,' BMO said in a statement."
Study: Bison donít compete much with
cattle for grass by Laura Lunquist
"Ranchers fear bison for two main reasons: disease and grazing
competition. But a new study shows that bison arenít the competitors
they would seem to be... Rabbits didnít really factor into the
equation for the ranchers. But they should have... Over two years,
Ranglack found that cattle consumed about half of the grass while
bison ate about 13 percent. But rabbits ate more than a third
of the vegetation. Part of the reason is because Utah ranchers
and hunters have coyote extermination programs to preserve young
livestock and game animals. Without coyotes to eat the rabbits,
the rabbit populations cycle, getting so big that they crash due
to a lack of food and then rebounding."
Forest: Coalition doesn't speak for all
"At best itís clear that the Stakeholders do not adequately represent
the interests of many conservation and environmental organizations.
Whatís more likely is that they are a bit too eager to push logging
projects to be a truly balanced and broad based coalition.
This organization may claim to speak for all forest stakeholders,
but skepticism is clearly in order here. After all, the ďgroupĒ
that supports the Montanore Mine was formed and is run by company
employees and consultants. Fortunately, they were publicly shamed
years ago and have zero credibility.
As for the courts, sometimes they are the only option for holding
government officials accountable. AWR is fond of saying that if
the agencies want to stop being sued, they should quit breaking
the law. Itís hard to find fault with this argument."
sought on Tendoy bighorn proposals
Comments are due Jan. 26 for the commission to consider final
action on Feb. 12
Bighorn sheep moved in
"Returning wild sheep to the mid-Madison Range is just one goal
of this operation several years in the making. Biologist Julie
Cunningham says reintroducing bighorn sheep has great potential
to increase overall herd size, increase biodiversity and provide
more recreational opportunities in the future for hunters and
viewers. 'This is an exciting project because it represents collaboration
between FWP, landowners, sportsmen, other agencies and university.
Everyone has been so positive,' Cunningham said."
New deal preserves public access
in Big Sky area
EMWH FS 166B documentation page. In late summer
of 2013 Rick Reese and Frank Culver provided documents
to Laura Lundquist who wrote up an article. Rob Gregoire and I
had gone up to the FS 166B road to document what was going on
with Stan Schlueters Big Sky home built right on the FS 166B road,
cutting off public and Forest Service access. I took photos and
measurements, got easement documents from the courthouse making
them available to the public and to the Public Lands/Water Access
Association. The publics calls and emails expressing concern over
lost access were heard and the previous land
proposal was dropped. Schueter had to restore access. This
has now been achieved. Though it does not address the illegality
of his building his house on the road in the first place, the
public becoming aware at the later date, through a number of public
efforts, we at least have got access restored.
National Forest North Hebgen Multiple Resource Project
Please take a look at the links/maps where the burning and logging
is being proposed. This is an ecologically sensitive area in a
wildlife corridor next to a Whitebark Pine Treatment Area and
the Cabin Creek Wildlife Management Area, south of the Lee Metcalf
Wilderness Area. There are a number of wildlife species that use
this habitat - elk, grizzly bear, bighorn sheep, gray wolf, deer,
moose, lynx, wolverine and seasonally the southern portion bison.
"The proposal includes an estimated 4600 acres of commercial harvest,
2000 acres of small tree treatments and 1600 ares of prescribed
burning. Approximately 25 miles of temporary road would be constructed
Public comments are due by February 10, 2015 -† email@example.com†
Is this really wildlife management
here in Montana?
More Yellowstone Bison sent to slaughter
"Since Wednesday an estimated 200 of America's last wild, migratory
buffalo have been crammed into tribal stock trailers at Yellowstone
National Park's Stephens Creek bison trap. The bison have been
taken to tribal slaughter facilities by tribal entities affiliated
with the controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP).
The two tribal affiliates shipping bison to slaughter for the
second year in a row are the Confederated Salish and Kootenai
Tribes and the federally chartered InterTribal Buffalo Council.
An estimated 250 wild bison have so far been captured inside Yellowstone's
trap since last Thursday. Fifty-five buffalo remain inside the
trap and will likely be sent to slaughter on Monday morning."
documentation on using Treaty Hunts to target bison in a few
acre area of a bottle necked wildlife corridor just as they cross
out of the YNP.
information on the Tribal Ship to Slaughter
Bison removal draws protests
Bighorn die-off near Gardiner climbs
to 30 by Brett French
"About 30 bighorn sheep ó roughly one-third of two herds that
live in the Gardiner area ó have died this winter, probably from
an outbreak of pneumonia...As far as Loveless knows, this is the
first time the Gardiner-area sheep have been infected and died.
The bacteria that leads to the death of bighorns is common in
domestic sheep and goats. Close contact between the animals can
lead to infection in bighorn sheep."
BLM willing to consider controversial
Missouri Breaks proposal by Brett French
"A controversial land exchange between billionaire Texas brothers
Dan and Farris Wilks and the Bureau of Land Management that was
shot down last year has come back to life.
Billings Bullwhacker Access Meeting
Audio - 27:18:
"As Mike mentioned we've got the 3 alternatives. We got the east
side, we got the west side, we have No Action and we are considering
No Alternative of Trails. I think thats a non motorized what they've
suggested. And the other one is to entertain a land exchange.
Again, not necessarily the same one that came up, but if we go
to that alternative, we need something that will work. Thats why
Im saying we need to get opinions together. Blaine County, Fergus
County, the ranchers, the folks may call it collaboration. It
can work, but it takes a lot of effort. So we're willing to
entertain that exchange thing again and it might well be one of
the alternatives. Is that fair, Mike?" - BLM Stan Benes
emailed BLM on Jan. 20th asking if a Durfee Hills land exchange
can even be entertained as the Durfees are still being surveyed
and under investigation for trespass, per the Realty Trespass
Handbook. I have yet to receive an answer to this question.
BTW, I have set up an UPDATE
link to the Wilks Fence Durfee Hills Interactive Map (upper
right corner), so that the public can now be kept up to date on
Don't sacrifice Smith River to copper mining by
While Iím not opposed to mining, and recognize the necessity of
metals for our modern society, I am absolutely opposed to permitting
a temporary mining project that sacrifices the livelihoods, way
of life, clean water and natural wonders of the Smith River. I
ask the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and Gov.
Steve Bullock, to be exceedingly cautious on any decisions that
would allow this project to move forward.
Officials issue fish-consumption
advisory for Yellowstone River
"Fish could also become polluted from the things they eat, such
as crawfish and worms that may also accumulate petroleum compounds.
Particularly worrisome are the effects on species such as the
paddlefish and the endangered pallid sturgeon. Biologists have
tagged several pallid sturgeon which allow them to study how they
behave in response to the oil spill, Gibson noted.
The spillís effects could endanger larger species who live in
the river or feed on the fish, such as beavers, otters, minx and
raptors. Although the ice will prevent these predators from being
affected immediately, they will return quickly once the ice begins
to thaw, Gibson said."
of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for delay in diversion system construction
"To accommodate the endangered pallid sturgeon under the Endangered
Species Act, and to maintain irrigation to area farms, a new concrete
weir and fish bypass design has been proposed, but not yet approved."
Sturgeon Passage and Entrainment Project information
What is the cost and the effects to our Public and our Public
Another Yellowstone River oil spill
"On July 1, 2011, an ExxonMobil pipeline also running beneath
the Yellowstone†ruptured†near Laurel, Montana,
vomiting 63,000 gallons of crude oil into the river. Already at
flood stage, it flushed hydrocarbon slicks into riparian habitat
and across nearby agricultural fields."
Exxon gets $1 million penalty for
Yellowstone River spill
Bison restoration catching on in
Bringing the West's wild bison back from the brink
"Bringing the wild bison back
to Colorado would result in myriad ecological, economic and cultural
benefits. As a keystone prairie species, bison would rejuvenate
our rangelands. Their hooves aerate the soil, their fur and scat
spread seeds, and their bones and bodies provide nutrients for
the ground and prairie scavengers. Their wallows ó the mud pits
they create when they bathe and drink ó fill with water and sustain
entire ecosystems of their own.
Economically, restoring bison to the wild is good business. Areas
with wild bison herds attract campers, hikers, and wildlife enthusiasts.
In Utah, bison are managed as big game. The state takes thousands
of applications every year for just a handful of actual bison-hunting
licenses, generating over $100,000 annually in fees alone. This
figure does not include the other economic benefits brought by
hunters visiting the state. Adding a big game species in Colorado
would boost tourism and outdoor recreation in a state already
known for its hunting opportunities and wildlife. This revenue
would help offset the costs of managing the herd."
Is this how we want our wildlife treated?
Like Livestock, unnaturally congregated and breeding disease?
10,000 elk are fed to protect 700
cows by Lloyd Dorsey (not his title)
"The mandate of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to manage
for healthy wildlife and healthy habitat. If so, why keep thousands
of elk densely concentrated for months during the winter in fetid
conditions? Such conditions make them sick and prone to become
sicker. The elk actually seem to want to roam free. Refuge personnel
admit feeding is not to stave off starvation but to keep elk from
getting into haystacks and mingling with livestock.
Nowaday there are approximately 700 or so cattle spending the
winter in the Jackson Hole area north, northeast and west of town.
Refuge officials imply that they donít want elk to mingle with
livestock. Thus they and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department
at the three feedgrounds in the Gros Ventre Valley combine to
feed approximately 10,000 elk to keep them away from 700 cows
and some horses."
Ex-Interior Head: Land Grab Puts
Utah at Odds With Industry
" 'Our public land heritage really is under attack,' said Babbitt,
speaking at a Conservation Alliance event. 'We've really got a
crowd of uninformed, misguided politicians who are attempting
to dismantle or abolish public lands and the agencies that administer
Babbitt's remarks are the latest indication Utah's political posturing
on the issue could affect its relationship with the outdoor recreation
industry, which supports the retailer show that brings an estimated
$40 million in economic benefits to the state each year."
Wyoming grazing dispute threatens
"Instead, a few years ago he started running domestic sheep on
his ranch. The problem is that Robbinsí ranch is smack dab in
the middle of prime habitat for 600 to 800 bighorns, and those
sheep intermingle with even more herds. Itís well established
that bighorn sheep can catch pneumonia from domestic sheep ó often
with fatal consequences for adults and newborns."
just want to let you know that I love EMWH and all the hard work
you do, keep it up!!† I look forward to reading every email you
send and couldn't agree with you more on pretty much every issue...
These forces, whose ignorant pursuit of a land transfer to the
state, truly only want the eventual transfer to wealthy private
individuals, mining companies, loggers, ranchers and others who
will immediately and without remorse, shut off our access to these
lands forever and promptly destroy them in their own unique ways.†
They will never discuss that though, they will never talk about
transfer to private individuals but make no mistake, this is their
ultimate goal.† The destruction and death of the tourism industry
in this state along with denial of access will prove disastrous
for all.† Families, children, and elderly citizens that rely on
income from this industry will no longer be able to support themselves
nor will any money generated from tourism be available to Montana
and Montanans aver again... Even if these lands aren't transferred
to private hands, Montana still cannot afford the cost to maintain
the lands nor can we afford the damage that will be done to our
wildlife habitats, streams, forests and watersheds by the clear
cutting, mining, and over grazing that will promptly follow.†
I stand with you and all average Montanans that share the love
of access to the great outdoors," - Richard, Great Falls, MT
"But this should give
you a good idea of just how much the so-called 'conservation'
organizations are in the pocket of FWP.†† It's a long-standing
'relationship' here in Montana where, apparently, our so-called
'conservationists' are always ready to cut the baby in half to
keep FWP happy...and funded." - George Ochenski, Helena, MT†
I would like to thank the following
contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Jack Bugg and Tim Crawford