the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"
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
Montana Sportsmen Stung
by Daines' Reversal on Public Land Sales
"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
Senator Daines Credibility
This is a well written post by Randy Newberg at his Hunt Talk
forum on Senator Daines votes affecting Montana and our Public
"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
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?"
Samaritans help free moose from trench on Bitterroot Trout Farm
by Perry Backus
Public land task force bill
revived without any mention of transfer by
"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
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.
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
Thoughts From the Marsh: What Have We Lost? by
"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 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."
Economics Presentation - Wunderlust, whats driving growth?
"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
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.' "
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.' "
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
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
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
For those interested, camping is available at the Lost Creek State
Park or Georgetown Lake Campgrounds.
Please reply to Hannah Ryan, firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Thank you sincerely for your dedication to wildlife and wild places.
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
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."
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.)
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."
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
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."
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 email@example.com.
Comments must be received by April 30 to be considered.
FWP: Oil spill won't affect
"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
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
"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."
burned in the western United States is unaffected by recent mountain
pine beetle outbreaks study
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."
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
Kathryn, I think the number is $4360 per 10,000 acres?" Randy
Randy is correct, I checked the study, which is included in this
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