the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"
wildlife is connected to the People."
Click to enlarge
Independence Day, which not only marks our independence from English
colonial rule without representation, but the freedom to abandon
the aristocratic, elitist, privatizing policies, such as William
the Conqueror's "Kings Deer" and the King's Forest. In America,
we have been blessed with Public Lands/Waters and Public Wildlife
- the Public Trust Doctrine, which holds that certain natural resources,
such as lands, waters, fish and wildlife, are held in trust by the
government for the benefit of the people.
In a way, this is like - Happy Public Trust Doctrine Day!
There are a number of subjects I have
been documenting, some like the illegal (MCA
45-8-115) "No Trespassing" sign by a private property owner
on a public access county road that leads to our public Forest Service
lands when MCA
45-6-201 states, " (3) To provide for effective posting of private
land through which or along which the public has an unfenced right-of-way
by means of a public road, a landowner shall:
(a) place a conspicuous sign no closer
than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway where it enters
the private land, stating words substantially similar to "PRIVATE
PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING OFF ROAD NEXT ___ MILES"; or
(b) place notice, as described in subsection
(2)(a), no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway
at regular intervals of not less than one-fourth mile along the
roadway where it borders unfenced private land, except that orange
markings may not be placed on posts where the public roadway enters
the private land. " This sign is about 12' from centerline, about
3' from the edge of the cattle guard, therefore giving the appearance
that everything beyond is their private property and "Trespassers"
will be prosecuted. All other landowners beyond that point had signs
properly placed on their fencelines parallel to the public access
county road. If I had not already known this was a public access
road, all indications from that sign, would have been that I would
be entering private property and trespassing. I will be notifying
the county commissioners there, then posting the documentation on
Montana's Future Public Access pages.
Below are two samples of fences erected
by a landowner, not far from public forest lands with wildlife,
that do not comply with the max height and construction of Montana
Legal fencing of 42-48", "(3) fences constructed of standard woven
wire, securely fastened to substantial posts not more than 30
feet apart, with two equidistant barbed wires placed above the
woven wire which must be as strong and as well calculated to
protect enclosures as those in subsections (1) through (3)."
These fences in several areas are built
inside an already existing barbed wire fence, about 3 feet inside,
with about a foot of the fence angled inside. I photographed antelope
nearby, but there is no way antelope can go under, through or
over these fences. As you can see from the bump outs of the angled
portions, deer and elk are trying to jump causing the fence to
rise and in some places is being broken. When they land, they
might be landing on or between the barbed wire fence.
Click images for higher resolution larger
Sadly, on the 28th, Jim
Borgreen died while scouting for a moose in the Little Belts. I
met Jim personally, but his brother
John, a friend with an awesome sense of humor, introduced me to
Jim's wildlife artistry.
John, I am sorry your, your family's and Montana's loss.
"Jimmy was a fine man, husband, father, brother, grand father and
friend. He was so loved and respected by his many students , but
he also was a dedicated and passionate conservationist and protector
of our outdoor hunting and fishing heritage. He not only donated
countless $$$ of his wildlife art for fund raising but he also committed
100s of hours doing conservation work to preserve , protect and
promote habitat and wildlife. The Beckman WMA , Judith MWA ,Beartooth
WMA were some of the area’s he worked to protect. He was also a
employee of FW&P doing a wide array of work , from maintenance
on WMAs to avian flu research to sage grouse and sharptail lek counts.
He really worked hard to improve and promote positive sportsmen/dept./landowner
relations on a personal level. He would had deliver small original
art work as thank you’s for being allowed to go on private land
for the lek counts. He was an avid hunter and angler , and passed
it on to his kids and countless students .
As you can see Kathryn, I could go on and on about Jim, but you
get the picture."
Looking for Tips on Dog Poisoning Incident near Condon
"During the third week of June, on two separate days individuals
took their dogs on walks on Owl Creek road south of Bigfork. In
both instances, after arriving back home, the dogs (both labs) started
convulsing and died shortly thereafter. Due to the similarity in
these cases the veterinarian took samples from the second dog and
sent them to a lab. The veterinarian believed the symptoms resembled
Wardens concerned with potential wildlife poisoning, along with
the owners of the dogs, retraced the path the dogs had walked in
an effort to find some sort of attractant or poison. One of the
dog owners found what appeared to be colored grain in two different
locations along Owl Creek road. Samples were submitted to the MT
Department of Agriculture, who had them analyzed. Both samples returned
positive for strychnine. Wardens believe the strychnine was placed
in hamburger and deposited along the road.
Anyone with information regarding this case can call 1-800-TIP-MONT.
Callers can remain anonymous and a reward may be available for information
leading to a conviction. People with information can also call FWP
Warden Chuck Bartos at 253-2934."
confirms lion’s paw in trap is authentic
The State Crime Lab has determined the mountain lion’s paw found
in a trap in southern Ravalli County last April was not a hoax,
said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials... Ruark said a
friend discovered the trap and paw while antler hunting in the Reimel
Creek area, east of the Sula Ranger District office. Ruark’s friend
said there were deep claw marks in a tree near the trap where the
mountain lion stood up on its back legs and tried to climb...'We
did look at it and tried to verify it one way or another,' he said.
'With the evidence that we have available to use, we can’t say that
this was set up. There’s nothing to support that.' "
Grant will help sheep foundation buy wildlife corridor
"The Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Sheep Foundation recently received
a grant which will go toward buying and creating a wildlife corridor
along Highway 1, seven miles west of Anaconda...The 224 acres the
foundation is trying to buy is adjacent to the Montana Department
of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Garrity Wildlife Management Area and
will help create a corridor for wild animals, particularly Lost
Creek bighorn sheep, to travel through."
Groups dedicate newest section of Helena National Forest
"Nineteen former mining claims south east of York were dedicated
Friday afternoon as the newest segment of the Helena National Forest.
The coalition of groups that worked to make the 386 acres in York
Gulch public land for wildlife habitat and recreation joined on
the property to celebrate the culmination of their efforts. The
project included an inholding owned by the Montana Outdoor Legacy
Foundation, and the acquisition of neighboring property from former
owner Betty Tiddy of Helena."
to FWP administration's mishandling of Arnie Dood, a 40 year FWP
employee, and his most current wild bison position, Arnie is now
officially retired from FWP. It is a sad thing when our best public
servants are being targeted, this Stepford Wiving of FWP into an
ag agency. But thankfully, the expertise, service and Public Trust
advocacy of this man does not end with FWP's employment. ;) Thank
you Arnie, for all your years of service to the public of Montana
and to our fish and wildlife.
Roam, Roam on the Range
This Montana cattle ranch is trying to ensure its operations benefit
wildlife—and yes, that means wolves, too.
"Cattle ranchers have traditionally been hostile to large carnivores;
wolves were nearly hunted, trapped, and poisoned to extinction in
the Lower 48 a few decades ago, due in part to the threat they posed
to livestock. Zaranek, who has done wolf research in Yellowstone
and Canada and now works for the Centennial Valley Association,
is trying to ease that relationship. She is testing whether range
riders on horseback and ATV can minimize conflicts between livestock
Zaranek and two other riders she oversees are looking out for cattle
from a half-dozen ranches in the area, including the J Bar L, a
30,000-acre operation where her husband works. These cowboys, who
all happen to be women, are just one of the ways J Bar L is trying
to manage its grass-fed beef operation to benefit livestock, people,
wildlife, and habitat."
Grayling returned to native
stream in Yellowstone
"Grayling Creek in northwest Yellowstone National Park will once
again be home to a population of its namesake — Arctic grayling.
This spring, NPS crews hatched nearly 100,000 grayling eggs in the
upper reaches of Grayling Creek. Native westslope cutthroat trout
are also being reintroduced — nearly 700 fish and more than 10,000
eggs have been stocked already in 2015.
Introductions such as these for grayling and westslope cutthroat
trout will be occurring for at least three years at Grayling Creek."
Marias River is secluded
"When Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks proposed a road through the
Marias River Wildlife Management Area, BHA opposed the proposal
and worked hard to make sure that road didn’t become a reality.
Recently, the group floated the river to celebrate its victory after
the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission voted down the road proposal...
Other sportsmen’s groups also opposed it, including the Russell
Country Sportsmen Association, arguing that buying land and
then giving a portion of it away wasn’t a responsible use of sportsmen
and women’s dollars."
There were actually many groups and individuals
that participated in the public trust process, objecting to the
land exchange and the road. This was very much a public effort.
2 bighorn rams killed after
mixing with domestic sheep south of Malta
"Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Scott Thompson removed the sheep
on June 24 over concerns that the domestic sheep could have been
exposed to pneumonia that can decimate a bighorn herd."
Gary Hammond, an awesome Public Trust
advocate and a great trust manger for the people of Montana, has
just retired as the Region 5 Supervisor of Fish, Wildlife &
Parks. While he was not the regional supervisor of the region I
live, due to my research and some meetings/events in that
area, I have had interactions with Gary, always finding him to be
honorable. Among conservation hunter/anglers I have worked with
from that region, Gary is always spoken of with great respect. Thank
you for your service to the people and our fish/wildlife Gary. Your
service in FWP will be missed.
Rand Paul Wants To Sell Off
America’s Public Lands
"At a campaign stop in Nevada on Monday, Kentucky Senator and Republican
presidential candidate Rand Paul called for the federal government
to sell off and privatize America’s national forests and other public
As part of his “Stand With Rand” tour, Sen. Paul told an audience
in the Nevada town of Mesquite that the federal government is a
“bully” and that national public lands should be under state and
private control, as reported by CNN. 'You run into problems now
with the federal government being, you know, this bully — this big
huge government bully,' Paul said. 'You would have less of that
if you had more local ownership of the land. State ownership would
be better, but even better would be private ownership.' "
When I first began fighting on the Public
Trust, and on some of the Federal Public Lands Transfer agenda,
seeing strategic pieces showing up in my newsfeeds, this was before
the National and state Republican Party's adopted Federal Lands
Transfer as part of their platforms, people kept telling me that
I was spinning my wheels "beating the drums" to advocate fighting
against a Public Lands transfer that could not happen. One of their
arguments at a forum was that congress would not approve such a
thing, nor would a president. Well we have seen what congress passed
already and now here is a presidential candidate saying, " 'I’d
either sell or turn over all the land management to the states.'
" Voters need to take a serious look at who they are voting for,
'cause this is really happening.
It’s time to hold Bundy accountable
It came as little surprise that researchers collecting data from
federal public lands near where Bundy illegally grazes his cattle
recently came under gunfire. This after they were approached earlier
in the day by Bundy and his son. Although Bundy denies having anything
to do with the incident, he acknowledged in the press, “We don’t
like them here bothering us.”
Whether Bundy is responsible for the gunfire or not, his actions
and comments make it pretty clear that he is asserting control over
land he does not own. Is this the new normal in the West, where
any anti-government bully can use intimidation to carve his own
personal fiefdom out of land that actually belongs to all of us?
Interfering with researchers or government employees is bad enough,
but what happens if a Bundy or one of his followers becomes bothered
by tourists on a camping trip, a rancher with a valid grazing permit,
or even an energy project?
Interior Secretary: Cliven Bundy
Will Be Held Accountable
"Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose states-rights battle with the
government to graze his cattle on public lands thrust him into the
national spotlight, will be held accountable for the armed standoff
his fight triggered with federal officials, Interior Secretary Sally
'Cliven Bundy has had multiple court orders to remove his cattle
from federal public lands and he has not paid his grazing fees and
he has not abided by the law,'Jewell told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
'We will continue to pursue that.' "
Finding my way back to me
So like many veterans, I finally had to save myself, moving alone
to Colorado and finding immediate solace in the mountains. It was
quiet there, and so much bigger than my problems. I found myself
after so long feeling alive and in the moment; I cried every day
and every night while on an eight-day solo camping trip. Responding
to a call to from a long-distant home I'd forgotten about, I walked
through the woods I'd never seen and wandered like I did as a child,
peering up at the stars. I was home alone and fine with it. It was
the medication that I wanted and needed.
"Great newsletter, Kathryn. Thanks" Doug Peacock
"Kat YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!! Thanks to you and John Gibson(PLWA)
for your tireless effort and yes on my behalf! I am great full for
your stewardship and commitment!" Dan Wildin
"Dynamite column, Kathryn. Strong and true. Private power will
take everything from those who yield to it." Paul Edwards
"K – great work, your video was very professional. " Lee Gustafson
One conservation hunter wrote, expressing
concern and asking if these access projects I have begun here were
a duplication of efforts from PLWA. I am a PLWA member,
in contact with PLWA about what I am working on, so that there is
no duplication of efforts. EMWH is listed on the PLWA site as a
public lands partner, as they are on EMWH. With nearly 2 million
acres of public lands inaccessible and that number growing, there
is unfortunately more access work than there are people willing
to take these issues on, we need more people fighting back, not
less. When just clearing this statement before sending this out,
with PLWA's president, John Gibson, he replied that if the public
would just take the extra step, by contacting their county commisioners
to determine if a road is even public or not, that would be a big
help, as they get so many contacts about road closures they cannot
look into all of them.
I would like to thank the following
contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Thank you to the conservation warrior
who saw a need for a video camera for this Public Trust documentation,
"It will be my donation to our shared vision!" Thank you and it
will be greatly used.
If you would like to further this work and research,
please click to contribute