Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"It is foolish to regard proper game-laws as undemocratic, unrepublican.† On the contrary, they are essentially in the interests of the people as a whole, because it is only through their enactment and enforcement that the people as a whole can preserve the game and prevent its becoming purely the property of the rich who are able to create and maintain extensive private preserves.† The wealthy man can get hunting anyhow, but the man of small means is dependent solely upon wise and well-executed game-laws for his enjoyment of the sturdy pleasure of the chase."
- Theodore Roosevelt


Click for larger image

This has been a busy last couple of weeks. Thanks to the incredible help of the Montana hunting community (all those involved listed in the Contribution Thanks at the bottom), EMWH now has an awesome Garmin Montana 650 GPS that takes geocoded photos (great for proof), an OnXMaps landownership and topo chip and a helicopter flight into the Durfees northern region to document that area. While I was up that way, another hunter said that I should document the east side of the Anchor Ranch/Bullwhacker where there is already a 2 track road most of the way, so I did. I will be processing all of that documentation (including awesome helicopter video from the donated video camera) in about a week, after I get the FWP elk shoulder season BS online in the next few days, but had to first address the FWP trying to gut Game Damage below.

Btw, still havent received the bulk of the FOIA placed on Nov. 13, 2014. Since my 3 recent requests for public information were deflected or ignored, I had to place another BLM FOIA for the sign in sheets, meeting minutes and public comments submitted on the Bullwhacker Access project that BLM stated the other day in their office, they abandoned.

One of the other western states BLM employees gave me the link to the land exchange handbook and pointed out some key points, as well as again stating the regs point out they cant exchange trespassed land until it is resolved, another suggested that I file an Interested Public Party request with our Montana BLM. They said the more people involved in this public process, the better for oversight and accountability. Please click the link to email with a message like the one below : BLM State Director Jamie Connell, Associate State Director Kat Kitchell, Central District Manager Stan Benes, and Missouri Breaks National Monument Manager Mike Kania:

"Dear BLM State Director Jamie Connell, as a Montana conservation hunter, I am writing to request to be included in any Bullwhacker access and/or any Wilks land exchange proposal decision making process. I ask to be kept informed on all Bullwhacker/Wilks specified public land matters, including mailing lists (also email), so that I am kept aware of future decisions and have the opportunity to comment on proposed actions, with the rights of protest and appeal."

Please include your contact information† with your signature.

* * *

Now to the heinous Game Damage gutting that has a deadline coming up. FWP was audited by Legislative Audit Services (published in May) and got caught with their pants down concerning the Game Damage Program, including a number of illegalities and non regulated processes. The 56 page audit covered 2010-2014, 586 game damage complaints in regions 2-5. So their answer to this situation is not to get FWP on the straight and narrow following the regulations already on the books, but to amend the legislation with† "Cover My Ass" amendments to make them legal, during an interim session, while most people are on vacation and remove more of the public from the process. The devil is in the details. As I see it, this doesn't make the game damage process better, but simply legitimizes the illegal or not regulated actions that FWP has been committing until they got caught. And our sportsmen's dollars have been paying for this.

Since it would take a whole newsletter just for that, I wrote the bullet point highlights from the audit and the Game Damage Proposed Amendment objections up on EMWH's WOMWE Blog -
FWP Game Damage Isn't Broken, It's Not Properly Being Used by FWP.
Please take the time to attend one of the 8 hearings in the various cities listed on Aug. 11th & 12th. If you dont use your public process, you are going to lose it with Game Damage!


While requesting information from Legislative services last week, I received this access problem PDF form that you can download, print out and keep with you for access issues. It has Montana state and federal agency contact information on the backside.

Access Problem ID Form PDF with agency contact list on the back.

Reducing the Wildland Fire Threat to Homes: Where and how much? - Cohen

Glacier Country
Glacier Park wildfire likely human-caused, investigators say
"Investigators believe the 3,170-acre Reynolds Creek fire in Glacier National Park was human-caused.

National Park Service law enforcement officers are seeking the publicís help with clues about how the fire was ignited.

Anyone who was hiking near the Reynolds Creek Campground on the Gunsight Pass/St. Mary Falls trails between July 14 and July 21 is asked to call 1-888-653-0009 or email nps_isb@nps.gov.

The fire was reported at 3:45 p.m. on July 21 about six miles east of Logan Pass. It quickly spread from a few acres to more than 1,000 by that evening. It continues to burn actively and was 63 percent contained on Wednesday evening. A Type 1 team of 670 firefighters is assigned to the effort."


Southwest Montana
Deep in the heart of Butte: A special report
"Below the center of Butte flows water tainted with poisons drawn from a mass of mining and smelting waste that has been a pollution problem for more than a century...

The polluted groundwater is flowing inexorably toward Silver Bow Creek, and critics of the Environmental Protection Agencyís long-standing decision to leave the tailings in the middle of the city as 'waste in place' say it could eventually endanger the recently completed cleanup of the lower part of the creek, which cost an estimated $147 million."


Yellowstone Country
West Deer Creek Rd. Now Open!
"Big Timber, Montana - On Wednesday, July 15, at 9:00 a.m. the gate barring public access to the West Deer Creek area of the Custer-Gallatin National Forest south of Big Timber swung open - thus restoring road access to more than 16,000 acres of public lands. PLWA played a key role in early efforts to keep public access to this area.

The gate is across a newly constructed bypass road named "West Deer Creek Road" (Forest Road #421, known locally as the Cherry Creek access). The new road provides a permanent public route on the Yellowstone Ranger District by replacing part of the old, now-private Cherry Creek Road."

Bozeman man pleads guilty to illegally killing moose, elk
"Andrew Shields, 25, pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony unlawful possession of a game animal, three counts of misdemeanor unlawful possession of a game animal and one misdemeanor charge of hunting without a license.

Gallatin County District Judge Holly Brown sentenced Shields to six months in jail and five years with the Montana Department of Corrections. Shields received credit for 106 days previously served in jail. He was also ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks."


Central Montana
DNRC purchases ranch north of Conrad for $2.5 million
"The Montana Land Board approved the purchase of a 2,563-acre farm and ranch northeast of Conrad Monday for $2.5 million that state officials said would generate some $70,000 in annual revenue for schools and provide new opportunities for bird hunters.

The property was purchased through the stateís Land Banking Program...

The property is accessible by the Bullhead and Trunk Butte roads, which are county roads. The purchase also would secure public access to 400 acres of trust land adjacent to the property."

Agreement to reopen road, provide public access to Rocky Mountain Front
"Great Falls hunters, state and county officials, and a landowner have reached an agreement that will provide walk-in hunting and recreational access to approximately 50,000 acres of public land along the Rocky Mountain Front west of Choteau. The agreement reopens a public road that has been in dispute for decades.

The consent decree reached between Randy Knowles, a member of the Russell Country Sportsmenís Association, the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Teton County and owners of the Salmond Ranch will establish a 30-foot easement along Teton County Road 380."

BLM's Lewistown resource advisory council to consider latest land exchange plan offered by wealthy landowners
" 'Iíve just never seen a public agency proceed in this manner,' said Ron Moody, a former Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission member who has advocated against the exchange.

He said the process has become 'so trashed up with bad process' that it ought to be shelved for a few years. He pointed to a similar land exchange proposal between a landowner and the state of Montana last year that was proposed and concluded in about a month. In that case, the state found the lands were not of equal value and halted the proceedings."
For more information please see the BLM breaking faith with the Public/Wilks Brothers land exchange draft proposal rebuttal page

Hometown Hero: Borgreenís passion helps kids
"His involvement with youth programming doesnít stop there. Heís been a longtime member of the Russell Country Sportsmen group and has advocated with members of the Montana Wildlife Federation and the Montana Sportsmen Alliance to keep public land and stream access open to the public.

A few years ago, the Russell Country group started a youth hunting program. Borgreen said they take kids who wouldnít otherwise have the resources to do it on hunting trips. Borgreen said the group isnít just teaching kids about how to kill an animal. They teach them about hunting ethically, respecting public and private land partnerships and more."


Missouri River Country
No cause of death for 19 Fort Belknap bison
"Following the Fourth of July weekend, herd managers from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation discovered the bodies of 17 bison lying in a pasture halfway between the communities of Fort Belknap Agency and Hays. Two more bison died in the days that followed, bringing the total number of dead animals to 19. No additional bison have been reported to have died since that time.

The Fort Belknap tribes maintain a total bison herd of more than 500 animals, however, the dead bison in question are unique in that they all came from a sub-group of 57 genetically pure bison originally relocated from Yellowstone National Park in 2011. The sub-group has remained quarantined from other bison and livestock since that time."


Southeast Montana
Sunday event to benefit East Rosebud designation
"Five years ago, local residents, ranchers and business people formed Friends of East Rosebud and began to talk to governmental agencies and politicians about better uses for East Rosebud Creek. The area is enjoyed by hikers, climbers, anglers, wildlife watchers, kayakers and horseback riders, and contributes millions of dollars to the local economy every year.

Friends of East Rosebud is supported by more than 90 percent of all local landowners and ranchers and all subdivision associations within 10 miles. Almost 2,000 local residents and visitors from 43 states signed the petition that led to the 'East Rosebud Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.' "





Koch Brothers Believe National Parks Should Be Privatized
"It appears that, in order to address this growing problem, the Koch brothers are interested in privatizing the park systems. The author and co-author of the Times op-ed piece both work for the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC). PERC is an organization interested in 'property rights and environmental organization' and funded by none other than the Kochs."

More Logging Wonít Stop Wildfires
"In the case of the Rim Fire, our research found that protected forest areas with no history of logging burned least intensely. There was a similar pattern in other large fires in recent years. Logging removes the mature, thick-barked, fire-resistant trees. The small trees planted in their place and the debris left behind by loggers act as kindling; in effect, the logged areas become combustible tree plantations that are poor wildlife habitat...

Recognizing these findings, some 250 scientists sent a letter to Congress in 2013 opposing a similar version of the current legislation. They predicted, correctly, that the Rim Fire would actually benefit many wildlife species and rejuvenate the forest ecosystem, provided that the burned expanses were not then cleared by loggers."

Obama Permanently Protects More Than One Million Acres Of Public Lands
"Early Friday, President Obama announced that he will designate three new national monuments, permanently protecting more than one million acres of public lands. He designated pristine wilderness landscapes in Nevada as Basin and Range National Monument, scenic mountains in California as Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, and a fossil-rich site in Texas as Waco Mammoth National Monument."




"I just wanted to throw one more caveat to the access thing: In some ways I feel that many recreationists are doing some of this to themselves. I live on a private road that leads to public lands. There is no perfected easement on our road and the 19 or so landowners who live on this road leave it open just because. In the last few years there has been talk of closing it to public access because of disrespectful recreationists. Dirtbikes, trucks, and atvs drive off the road, drive too fast, run over pets, almost run over people, etc, etc. I am a huge proponent of public access and strictly a public lands hunter but the current culture of society and the disrespect towards public and private lands seem to be leading to a predictable outcomes. There are certainly many instances of someone closing a road strictly because they want their own private kingdom but sometimes I can completely understand why people would want to exclude the public. Not comparing complete apples to apples here but it is a related topic.

Anyways just wanted to mention that because it seems that peoples behavior related to loss of access is rarely mentioned." TS†

"Thank you for keeping their feet o the fire!" RMc on BLM Breaking Faith

"Thanks again Kat... U are amazing!" Greg

"As vice pres of the Great Falls Chapter of SCI we would also be interested in contributing to the Bullwhacker Road in manpower and money".....Brad Lencioni

"I wonder why they are taking so long.† I think if it was the ordinary JOE, things would be happening.† But with the Money behind the Wilks, they are running scared.† A bunch of BS." T Moseman

I would like to thank the following contributors for helping to support EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Jerry Davis for the Montana Access Project; Tom Pruitt;† for the Durfee Hills/Bullwhacker access documentation trip -† Central Air Service (for the price break on the helicopter trip into the Durfees), 2 anonymous hunters, PLWA, Ron Moody and Tim Crawford; for the general documentation contribution of a Garmin Montana 650 GPS (totally awesome - geotagged photos for proof!) - Garmin (for giving us a conservation discount thanks to the connection with Dale Spartas); Tim Crawford of Pheasant Farms Photos and Dale Spartas of D.C.S Photo, and due to a lost shipment problem with the Garmin not arriving before the documentation trip, Bozeman Sportsmens Warehouse for supplying the Garmin GPS with the reshipment going to their store; for the OnXMaps Montana Hunt chip for the GPS (thanks Mark Momberg for the referral), which shows public/private boundaries and ownership, topo, roads, etc -† OnXMaps, a Montana company based in Missoula.

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


Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu
406-579-7748
www.emwh.org

30/07/2015
d/m/y

Enhancing
Montana's
Wildlife &
Habitat

 

 www.EMWH.org
406-579-7748
Bozeman, MT
EMAIL



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