Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"GIVERS have to set LIMITS,
because TAKERS rarely do.
"


Conservation, in a nutshell means just that, setting limits to ensure that we have wilderness/habitat, wildlife & fish for future generations, because the sad truth is, that without limits, the Takers do not self monitor and conserve on their own, for the benefit of the whole.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote, "We do not intend that our natural resources shall be exploited by the few against the interests of the many, Our aim is to preserve our natural resources for the public as a whole, for the average man and the average woman who make up the body of the American people."

This is a constant battle, because even when you get good or decent laws and regulations on the books, the Takers continually try to undermine what is good for the whole for their own special interests. They constantly push on the legislative front, chip away at the laws piece by piece, erode foundations, use bully tactics to strong arm the public.

Back in the early spring when I couldnt remember from the accident, I watched a Ted Talk that dealt with my research - how do you get people to care, fighting apathy. It was a quick 7 minute video, the speaker was from Toronto, so the examples were from their local city politics, but all I could think of were the conservation application. He said that people by and large are not apathetic ( my first thought was not to agree), they have been intentionally discouraged from engagement with obstacles and barriers, they're not apathetic, they're frustrated. Then he gave 7 examples from their local politics. I need to get this remade using conservation for people to see just how applicable this really is. Here are the points:
  1. Contact - for involvement is intentionally hidden, minimized, not widely known to exclude the public. This was recently done by FWP when they followed the letter of the law by filing a public notice for the Game Damage Hearings, yet they did not put it on their main webpage or mention it at the '15 and Forward meetings or in other forms. Most of the sportsmen found out about 2 weeks before, some already had other meetings scheduled and it was summer with people gone on vacation. Here is a link on my overview of FWP's Game Damage Hearing process, as well as links to Gayle Joslin's comments (former FWP wildlife biologist who worked with game damage) and Vito Quatraro's statement the next morning.
  2. Public Space - The agencies dont use the public space available that would reach the public, like social media, billboards. I am signed up for FWP news alerts and I didnt even get one of the hearing public notices, nor was it on their main page of their website.
  3. Media - Generally when something is mentioned in the media, there is little to no follow thru contact information provided for the public to become engaged. He gave an example of the city planning commission's tiny ass print of a project compared to a Nike ad to sell their shoes. Nike clearly wants you to buy their shoes, but the city planning doesnt want you at their meetings.
  4. Heroes - How do we view leadership? He spoke about heroes being depicted as the reluctant person that is chosen by the people to fulfill some prophecy or some event that chooses them, often they try to fight against being chosen. Leadership/heroes needs to be portrayed as a willing person of conscious standing up to do the right thing, an average, everyday person, not some "chosen one".
  5. Political Parties - instead of the uncreative politicians regurgitating what they think we want to hear, we need leaders that are bold with creative ideas, not feeding our cynicism.
  6. Charitable Status - since nonprofits arent allowed to do advocacy, some of the most passionate and informed voices are completely silenced, especially during election time.
  7. Our electoral process intentionally discourages engagement in a multitude of ways, just look at some of the recent attempts by legislators to shut down who can vote.
The presenter stated that we need to change the obstacles, the cultural barriers that have been intentionally set up to discourage engagement, by redefining, identifying and dismantling the obstacles they have set in place.

A heroic effort is a collective effort, it's an ongoing process, imperfect, not glamorous and it's voluntary!

Outfitter Connection
Last night I got the bulk of the research on the Outfitter Connection to the Elk Shoulder Season issue online. I still have some data coming in, but there is enough to see that our elk population issues are not as cut and dried as Helena FWP's politics would like us to believe. When you have special interest landowners/outfitters that boast of harboring our public wildlife, which they profit from, this needs to be brought into the conversation.

"Without baiting or fences, HUNDREDS of elk freely rut on the Harris Ranch. Although public land is very close, almost no bull elk have ever been killed on the neighboring public lands. Elk know where they feel safe and are not harassed."

Public Comments Due on these interconnecting FWP issues that are a major move towards privatization of our wildlife:

Midnight tonight - FWP's '15 and Forward. There is a Survey Monkey form at the bottom of the page. Please tell them the Helena FWP politics need to stop. FWP needs to become compliant with the laws and regulations so they stop failing these audits that are wasting our dollars that should be going towards our wildlife and habitat instead of special interest ag politics, stop the "culture of fear" that is destroying the FWP employees morale. We need FWP to get back on the Public Trust Doctrine path, to stand up for the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

Aug. 21 - Game Damage Public Comments - Please fwpgamedamagearms@mt.gov or mail in writing Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701
Also, I got in touch with Senator Mike Phillips and spoke with the Skyline Sportsmen & Anaconda Sportsmen guys about speaking with Senator Gene Vucovich, the new Environmental Quality Council (EQC) Chair, that oversees FWP during the Interim Legislature, about this Game Damage bs. They took my research, Vito's letter and Gayle Joslin's comments to him. He agreed to add it to the Sept. 9 & 10th agenda in Helena. As soon as I see a finalized date and time from Legislative Services, I will post the information. This may be the last chance to stop this special interest railroading by FWP. I called Sen. Vucovich and thanked him for hearing us, giving us this chance. Thank you Tony Shoonen and Lorry Thomas, y'all rock.

Aug. 28 - Elk Shoulder Season - Please email the FWP Commissioners at fwpcomm@mt.gov
Considering the recent FWP Game Damage audit failure, an outdated Statewide Elk Management Plan and some obvious elk objectives influenced by some special interest landowner/outfitter privatization, we dont need to create another "shoulder season". We need compliance with the laws, and a scientific, evidential updating of our statewide elk management plan, not this continual political Frankensteining of our elk program. We need the Public Trust Doctrine and North American Model of Wildlife Conservation from our wildlife agency!




If you would like to further this work and research,
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Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu
406-579-7748
www.emwh.org

16/08/2015
d/m/y

Enhancing
Montana's
Wildlife &
Habitat

 

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