Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"None of us are bigger than the
causes we are fighting for.
- a conservation hunter

Saying my piece -
About a week ago there was an email making the rounds about a number of issues connected with this legislative session, some votes taken by a variety of conservation organizations, that had some points in it that I felt should be discussed, cause I am that kind of person. I dont believe in back room deals, or an elite few that are supposedly representing the majority of conservationists, whether you view it from the hunting or non-hunting perspective. I like open source, transparency and discussion! Let me say that again, I love diversity and discussion, it broadens my perspective! So I posted it to a forum, that the writer is a registered member of, with their permission, explaining who it was from and stating, "But heres the rub..." Before I got on the thread the next day, a nonfactual statement concerning my posting was made about swinging other peoples hatchets and posting as facts, then the thread locked. While I have sent a letter to the forum owner, I am going to make this very clear, I swing no ones hatchet and I stated no facts. And I will never apologize for an opportunity for discussion.

I feel, just like in politics, there is a disconnect between members and conservation organizations and what they advocate on behalf of the memberships. Heres an example of the issue. I received an email forwarded from a question sent to a GYC employee that was one of the backroom deals that advised the Governor on the logging priority landscapes. When asked for the data or analysis used to identify those landscapes her reply was, "We didn’t provide any data or do any analysis ourselves to identify these landscapes." Now, see me being the discussion and evidence oriented person that I am, my first thought is, "Then what the hell was the criteria for choosing those landscapes? Did someone just open up Google Earth, zoom in on Montana and choose the greenest parts?" So I wonder about the people supporting the GYC, are they aware that no data or analysis was used to choose those landscapes? Is this conservation? How does this benefit Montana?

This brings me to my point. I posted the circulated email hoping for discussion, hoping that people would start taking a closer look at who they contribute to, or do people think all they have to do is send in a yearly membership, pat themselves on the back, feel good about themselves and their responsibility for our Public Trust ends there? Organizations are no different than government (one reason I didnt file as a non-profit), you should be holding your organization accountable for what they are voting for, representing at the tables and work groups they participate in, because they are using your membership, your dollars, your numbers when they stand up there and make those votes or those statements. If you dont know what is going on, you should. If you dont like what is going on, you should let them know. Nothing is static, things are always changing. Despite written mission statements, organizations may change based on controlling members or new presidents. What once was a conservation organization could now simply be playing at conservation. The proof is in their actions, their votes, their public statements.

Even if you are a member of an organization, there is nothing stopping you from sending comments in as an individual, pulling out your phone, or showing up at a legislative session, public meetings or sending in letters to the editor.

Take a look at our State legislature, take a look at our Federal legislature. It is not pretty. We have far too much at stake for the pissing contests, the turf wars, the special interest  and political agendas and sheeple. I dont compile these newsletters for fun, but to hopefully show a bigger picture, the interconnected pieces of what the hell is going on out there, what we can do about it, hoping to get people to care. Cause if y'all dont care, if the evidence doesnt matter, if this is just a feel good game with some of you being grateful you will probably not live to see how horrid it can really get, then we are all well and truly fucked. Jim Posewitz wrote, "This legacy did not come to our generation to die."  And a conservation poet wrote, "In the end, we conserve only what we love." So I am asking you, all of you, what do you love and are you willing to actually, actively fight for it? Hopefully, you answered at least Montana.

And if the most offensive thing to any of you was my saying "fucked", well, the unsubscribe button is at the bottom. - Kathryn

(Federal) Senate Votes To Help States Sell Off Public Lands
"The new chair of the powerful Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee secured a vote Thursday afternoon in the U.S. Senate on a controversial proposal to sell off America’s national forests and other public lands.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) amendment, which passed by a vote of 51 to 49, is now part of the Senate’s nonbinding budget resolution. The proposal would support and fund state efforts — which many argue are unconstitutional — to seize and sell America’s public lands. These include all national forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, historic sites, and national monuments."

Montana Sportsmen Stung by Daines' Reversal on Public Land Sales _BHA
"Montana's hunters and anglers are deeply troubled by Senator Daines' support for selling our federal lands," said John Sullivan, co-chair of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers' Montana Chapter. "Just a few weeks ago, Senator Daines told Montanans he opposes selling our public lands, but now he supports this terrible idea from Washington, D.C. Actions speak louder than words, and the senator's action last night has sent shock waves throughout the state."

Senator Daines Credibility Crisis
This is a well written post by Randy Newberg at his Hunt Talk forum on Senator Daines votes affecting Montana and our Public Lands.
"For a guy who ran on a platform of supporting public lands, he seems to be in full scale retreat. It is no secret he has strong relationships with Kerry White and the rest of the Montana ALC crowd...

Yesterday he voted for the Murkowski Amendment that would open up Federal Lands to be transferred to states, exactly what we have fought so hard to squash at the state levels. It surely has the "Sell the public land" crowd reinvigorated after getting their teeth handed to them in the state legislatures of the west this winter. Just when those groups had tucked tail and headed back to Utah, the Senate hands them a gift such as that...

Who is Senator Daines representing in his service in the Senate, Montanans, or the special interest groups pedaling (better stated as buying) influence?"

Public land task force bill revived without any mention of transfer by Tom Kuglin
"One major critic of transferring federal lands to state ownership pointed out after the hearing that the amended bill does nothing to stop the task force from studying a transfer.

'At the end of the day, it deletes a word but it’s the same study with the same parameters and a predetermined study agenda,' said Clayton Elliot, state policy director for the Montana Wilderness Association.

The task force would rehash work already done both by the Environmental Quality Council in the last interim and by other states while allowing the transfer discussion to continue, he said. HB496 now moves to the House floor for debate."

Big money trying to buy up wildlife, access by John Gibson
"Big money interests see Montana's big game and fisheries resources as too valuable to be left in the public domain. They believe these resources should be for sale to the highest bidder for private control and profit.

They can make this happen by reducing the role of government and passing laws that limit public agency authority and reduce funding. Then..."

Tribal Nations Oppose Montana Bison Bills That They Say Trample Sovereignty
" 'Moreover, the bill erodes the authority of the state, giving "veto power" to county commissions on bison transfers', said Mike Volesky, deputy director of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, at the hearing. 'The counties,' he added, 'are already part of "a substantial public process." '

'In over 100 years of conservation, no county government has been allowed to usurp the public trust or the public's ownership of wildlife,' Voggeser said. 'No county government has had the authority to violate the basic tenet that wildlife knows no boundary and therefore should rightly be managed by the state, for the public trust.' "

Bison to be reintroduced in Banff, new plans for Yellowstone herd
"If humankind was ever put on trial for its crimes against wildlife, our near extermination of the American bison would make for a damning Exhibit A. Luckily, we came to our senses in time to avert extinction; today, around three-quarters of a million bison roam North America’s plains. Still, those animals can hardly be called wildlife: The vast majority contain DNA from cattle and dwell in quasi-domestication on ranches...

Inevitably, the plan has detractors, from scientists convinced that fencing will transform Banff into a glorified game farm to ranchers who fear those same fences won’t prevent bison from traipsing beyond park borders. But if we’ve learned anything about wildlife management, it’s that animals should be able to migrate freely in and out of parks. 'I cannot take seriously anyone who says they are worried about what bison might do in the forest reserves when I see the kinds of cumulative abuse from off-roaders, logging companies, oil and gas, road builders and grazing licensees that Alberta seems blithely ready to live with,' wrote former Banff superintendent Kevin Van Tighem in a trenchant Calgary Herald op-ed. 'There’s a bit of a cognitive dissonance thing happening there.' "

Thoughts From the Marsh: What Have We Lost?
by Dave Stalling
"We humans want to control it all, even those of us who claim otherwise. Roads, houses, buildings; asphalt, concrete, trails; signs, maps, guidebooks; cell phones, GPS units, flashlights; bear spray, safety plans and search and rescue teams. We want safe, sanitized 'wild' experiences. As Jack Turner so passionately puts it, we've rendered the wilds an abstract. We've rendered freedom an abstract. Even many hunters I know who feign being 'in touch' with the wilds want to alter, shape and control it to suit selfish desires. Many want to eradicate wolves. (They don't want elk to be too wild, to behave and react too much like elk.)

Elk without wolves; ducks without foxes. We're suppressing and denying vital evolutionary innate knowledge and instincts -- not to mention creating a boringly dull and docile world. I want some of it back."

Headwaters Economics Presentation - Wunderlust, whats driving growth?

Glacier Country
Good Samaritans help free moose from trench on Bitterroot Trout Farm by Perry Backus
"By now, more than two hours had passed since the rescue operation had started. 'Finally, she was able to get enough room to halfway twist around and get her feet out of the hole,' Farley said. 'Once she pulled herself out of the hole, she fell down onto her knees. She was somewhat hypothermic and was showing signs of fatigue. She was shaking.'

And then the moose stood up and slowly wandered off to a little opening about 30 feet away. 'She turned around and looked at us for a few minutes,' Farley said. 'It was as if she was saying "thank you." I think for all of us, it was particularly satisfying because we saved her and probably her unborn calf.'

Without that help, Mowry is pretty certain the moose would have perished. 'I was really inspired by those guys,' Mowry said. 'The woman in me was worried about them getting hurt, but they were determined to do what they could to save that moose.' "

FWP finds fewer mountain goats in Bitterroot canyons by Perry Backus
"Mowry found the largest concentration of mountain goats in Blodgett Canyon, where she counted 13. While those population numbers mark quite a drop from 1989, when biologists found 267 goats in the same drainages, the numbers have remained relatively stable over the last few surveys.

It’s hard to know exactly why mountain goats aren’t doing as well as they once did in the Bitterroot Mountains. 'It is common knowledge that we had a really high hunter harvest years ago,' Mowry said. 'In 2005, we issued 12 permits. I think way back in the day, we were issuing even more than that.' In 2012, the permit numbers were down to two.

'Warming temperatures may also be impacting their food source or how they move between summer and winter ranges,' she said. 'They reproduce slowly,' Mowry said. 'They possibly have hit a threshold that they can’t quite get over.' "

Southwest Montana
Drumming up forest fire fear will hurt wildlands by Jim Posewitz
"It is a mistake to manage public lands by suggesting that if we don’t compromise the last wild places that we are going to scorch Helena. We have been living here for a century and half and have adjusted...

I raise this other issue knowing it is not about the Tenmile Watershed. I raise it to make the point that the Tenmile Watershed pyro-panic is only the current ‘wedge’ used by those who would compromise our last wild places and the wildlife that lives there. Let us not bomb our last wild land ‘villages’ -- while pretending to save them."

Please Volunteer to Help Wildlife
We have another exciting habitat work project on the calendar for April and we need you as BHA Member to volunteer for this worthwhile opportunity. In coordination with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, we will be working to remove fences that negatively affect wildlife on a state Wildlife Management Area in the Anaconda area (exact location TBA) and potentially on other nearby land, if we have enough volunteers. There are fences there that are not needed and many are down, posing a tangle hazard to elk, big horn sheep and other wildlife.

Here are the details: Saturday, April 25, 9am to 5pm, Bring work clothes, water, work gloves and fence pliers, if you have them, Lunch will be provided by Montana BHA 

It is also a good chance to meet like minds and souls of the Montana BHA Chapter.
For those interested, camping is available at the Lost Creek State Park or Georgetown Lake Campgrounds.

Please reply to Hannah Ryan, ryan.hannah.jean@gmail.com or (307) 431-9876, if you are available and interested. Hannah will then contact you about exact location of the April 25 fence pull and other details.

Thank you sincerely for your dedication to wildlife and wild places.

Former fish board appointee charged in Montana
"A former nominee for the Alaska Board of Fisheries has been charged with wildlife violations in Montana.

Montana authorities say Roland Maw has been charged with seven misdemeanors for purchasing resident sporting licenses there.


Candy Hoerning, a judge in Beaverhead County, Montana, says Montana's wildlife department filed seven charges March 12 alleging Maw purchased licenses as a resident when he was not a resident."

Yellowstone Country
Pneumonia kills dozens of bighorn sheep north of Yellowstone Park
"After counting 89 healthy sheep last year, Sunday’s count yielded 55 sheep, as well as another dead animal and a number of sick ones, according to a statement released Monday by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. So far, at least 34 sheep from the herd have died from the pneumonia outbreak that began late last year, marking a loss of nearly 40 percent of the herd in the Gardiner and Cinnabar areas.

'The disease event is not over yet,' said Karen Loveless, a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife biologist in Livingston."

Bill Hoppes Domestic Sheep Threat page - my timeline, maps, documentation, academic papers I have been compiling since spring of 2013 when Hoppe first irresponsibly brought his domestic sheep into Gardiner, threatening several species of wildlife and causing unwarranted and preventable social conflict. (sorry for the delay in getting this put together, the head injury in Dec. prevented me from being able to compose and detail properly. I was not going to attempt to set this page up if I felt I could not do a proper job with the data.)

Central Montana
BLM should conserve the best of the Breaks by Steve Schindler
"Are you a hunter, angler, or hiker who cares about the Missouri Breaks?  If so, you should be aware that the Lewistown Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management is creating a new resource management plan for public lands that include big game Hunting Districts 410 and 417. Montana public lands users – from hunters to hikers and explorers – have a speak-now-or-hold-your-peace, once-in-20-years-opportunity to tell the BLM what we want to see in the management and use of these lands. I urge historic uses, open public access, cattle grazing, hunting and all recreational uses...

There has been a tremendous back-and-forth debate recently over our public lands, with some calling for the transfer of federal public lands like the Breaks to the states – or even selling them off to the highest bidder. The fact that we are having this debate at all makes one thing painfully clear: the sportsmen and other recreationists who love and use these lands are not making themselves heard. That silence fuels the fires of those who want to take these lands away from the sportsmen and from us all, forever. Strong, proactive conservation measures to keep our best BLM backcountry healthy and intact are as important to the future of the BLM as they are to the sportsmen who depend upon and love these lands. We act now, together, to conserve these lands, or we lose. It is as simple as that."

Recall earlier article

BLM Lands With Wilderness Characteristics
Ask the BLM to implement the LWC management plan in Alternative B in their final Hi-Line RMP; email BLM’s at: BLM_MT_HiLine_RMP@blm.gov

Missouri River Country
BLM seeks input on change to bison grazing at allotment
"Last summer, APR purchased the Holzey family ranch in south Phillips County. A public, 13,075-acre public grazing allotment owned by the Bureau of Land Management, called Flat Creek, was tied to that purchase and is now leased by APR. Cattle previously had grazed the land. APR has applied to change the class of livestock so bison can graze on the Flat Creek Allotment."

To comment: Call B.J. Rhodes, range land management specialist, at 406-654-5120. Substantive comments about the application must be in writing and can be sent to the Malta Field Office, 501 South 2nd St. East, Malta, MT 59538 or brhodes@blm.gov. Comments must be received by April 30 to be considered.

Southeast Montana
FWP: Oil spill won't affect paddlefish season
"FWP has issued a fish-consumption advisory for any fish caught below the spill site, warning anglers to use caution when deciding whether to eat their catches from the river until the department can determine whether they are safe. The advisory will be in effect at least for two more weeks while FWP tests fish caught since the ice melted.

Montana’s 2015 paddlefish season on the Yellowstone River opens May 15. The department has no plans to change the season as a result of the oil spill.

FWP biologists said this week that paddlefish spend much of the winter in Lake Sakakawea on the Missouri River in west central North Dakota. The fish do not stage at the upstream end of the lake and begin their migration toward the Yellowstone River until early May. FWP biologists do not believe that the Yellowstone River’s paddlefish were directly exposed to the spilled oil."

BLM Releases Final Rule for Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal Lands; Industry Immediately Files Suit
"On March 20, 2015, three years after its initial proposal, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized new regulations applicable to hydraulic fracturing activities on federal and Indian lands.  BLM previously released a draft proposed rule in May 2012 and revised draft in May 2013...

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance filed lawsuits the same day challenging the rule.  The state of Wyoming filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming on March 26, 2015.  The final rule is effective on June 24, 2015."

Bark beetles are killing forests — but they might be saving them, too
"In hopes of staving off complete catastrophe, the United States Forest Service, which oversees 80 percent of the country’s woodlands, has launched a beetle offensive, chopping down trees to prevent future infestations. The USFS believes this strategy reduces trees’ competition for resources, allowing the few that remain to better resist invading bugs. This theory just so happens to also benefit loggers, who are more than willing to help thin the forests. Politicians, too, have jumped on board, often on behalf of the timber industry: More than 50 bills introduced since 2001 in Congress proposed increasing timber harvests in part to help deal with beetle outbreaks.

But Six believes that the blitz on the bugs could backfire in a big way. For starters, she says, cutting trees 'quite often removes more trees than the beetles would' — effectively out-beetling the beetles. But more importantly, intriguing evidence suggests that the bugs might be on the forest’s side."

Area burned in the western United States is unaffected by recent mountain pine beetle outbreaks study

Management for Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak Suppression: Does Relevant Science Support Current Policy? Study

Retirees Spur "Golden Rush" to Western Counties with Protected Lands
"Retirees are three times more likely to relocate to counties in Colorado and other Western states with protected public lands like National Parks, Wilderness and other conservation areas, according to a new report from the Center for Western Priorities."

"You’re terrific, Kathryn, and performing an invaluable purpose in Montana and the region where there is nothing going on that rivals your work." - Paul Edwards

"You are a HUGE asset to our state and public land cause. I do enjoy your detailed analysis on the matters you fight for. I'm glad you are such a bison advocate too....I wish our state would see the same value in them that we do." - S

From a copy and paste quote from the Helena Independent article in the last Newsletter, What is Nature Worth? there is a typo on their online version - " 'Across the West, counties without big cities saw an income link to protected federal lands, according to the report. In 2010, per capita income was $436 higher per 10,000 acres of protected federal land within a county, the report said.'

Kathryn, I think the number is $4360  per 10,000 acres?"  Randy

Randy is correct, I checked the study, which is included in this Newsletter,
Headwaters Economics Presentation - Wunderlust, whats driving growth?
On page 9 of the presentation you can see in the bar graph that it is $4360 per 10,000 acres. Thanks for catching that Randy.

In a conversation the other day, related to the public lands access research, a subscriber relayed a conversation with a hiker, asking about maps to the Forest lands. The hiker was informed that certain areas were private now. At which point the hiker replied that they were just going to hike. This subscriber tried to explain that the private land was no longer available to the public, explaining to me there was such a disconnect with the hiker that they were not getting the fact that once our public lands are lost, they are no longer accessible, not even for a simple, low impact activity like a hike.

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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