Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"The love and value of public land has always been very strong in me,"
- Joe Gutkowski

Wilks Fencing
In October I took 2 trips to Lewistown, flown to the Durfee Hills to document the fence situation, one took place over 4 days. I am now creating an interactive map where the viewer will be able to click on hotspots to see the pics, videos, documents associated with this fencing issue. As soon as I get this done, I will send the link out in the next Newsletter. A big thank you to the public hunters that cared enough about this situation to be involved - the pilots that flew me in, Ben and Brittany who put me up in their camp for the longer trip, and Dr. Bill Mealer for the loan of his Garmin GPS with the property owner, GIS programs on it and last but not least the dog watcher. :)

Thank you to those that emailed BLM Jamie Connell. I was called the day after and notified that BLM would be doing a Cadastral survey and investigation. Additionally, with the documentation I took into the State DNRC office in Lewistown and filing the required letter, Clive Rooney notified me that they are also dealing with their survey and investigation. For the State portion, Montana Legal Fencing laws apply.

Sportsmen concerned over Durfee Hills fence, BLM to conduct Survey by Charlie Dennison (PDF version, front page, continued on page 8)

The Durfee Hills, located approximately 25 air miles from Lewistown in the Little Snowy Mountains, has been the topic of many conversations on “Hunt Talk,” a blog (actually a forum) on hunting issues moderated by Randy Newberg of Bozeman. A popular elk hunting location accessible only by plane, the Durfee Hills makes up approximately 2,785 acres of BLM land. In March, the Wilks brothers attempted to exchange land for it, but a petition created by a group of sportsmen succeeded in shutting down the land swap...

Durfee drama continues, as the fence has generated much response on “Hunt Talk.” Kathryn QannaYahu, founder of Enhancing Montana’s Wildlife and Habitat Organization in Bozeman, is one of many who joined the thread regarding the Wilks brothers’ fence. “I heard rumors about the fence after the land exchange got stopped,” QannaYahu said. “On Sept. 5, we started seeing photo documentation of what was going on out there. "...

“People are participating in their right to hike, camp and hunt all over the country,” she said. “It is our right to make sure our public lands are protected.”

An avid reader of Hunt Talk, QannaYahu said she became more and more passionate about the fencing issue. Last week, she decided to see the fence for herself, tagging along with some hunters on a flight into the Durfee Hills. “I took top-and bottom-measurements of the fence,” QannaYahu said. An advocate for “removing and mitigating some of the obstacles that wildlife and habitat face,” QannaYahu was concerned with the height of the fence. (more than just the height of the fence)

Nov. 5,  FWP Region 3 Supervisor Candidate Forum - 6PM, Best Western Gran Tree Inn in Bozeman (1325 N. 7th Ave).
Nov. 6, Region 1 Supervisor Candidate Forum

They didnt get the answer they wanted the first time, so they extended the public comment another 30 days. Public Comment Extended on Marias River WMA Access Agreement
Original information - What is involved here? A historic prescriptive easement being blocked by a landowner whose cattle and domestic bison are trespassing on our FWP Wildlife Management Area without a grazing lease (stealing from public taxpayers and rewarding him?)!

VOTE Mike Wheat - When you vote (hopefully based on our Public Trust issues which are currently on the line), please dont forget Mike Wheat for our Montana Supreme Court. When conservation issues have to be litigated, they may end up at the Montana Supreme Court, like the Ruby River case.
Experience matters, vote for Wheat
Wheat understands Montana law, VanDyke recruited from Texas

Texas Fracking Billionaires Gave Money to 70 Percent of Montana Republican Legislators, 2012 (This is an article Follow The Money wrote in 2013. Not all the reports are in from candidates on contributions, I think the next reporting is in a week, so figures for this year will be more representative closer to the election, but the data and application is very pertinent.)

State's largest landowners keep expanding by Brett French
"In Montana alone the Wilkses own 341,845 acres, according to Montana Cadastral mapping figures, making them the largest private landowners in the state. That figure now tops Plum Creek Timber Co., which for years was the largest landowner in the state.

The Wilkses, on the other hand, have staked out the majority of their Montana property in central Montana. Looking at a map, the Wilkses’ holdings have been clustered near where Fergus, Musselshell and Golden Valley counties adjoin — expanding out from their first purchase of the N Bar Ranch onto adjoining property." Now, I do not begrudge people purchasing and owning land (that is their right), but the fence issues that affect our wildlife, unlawfully inclosing our Public Lands, possible privatization of our wildlife, cutting off public access to Public Lands and public hunter harassment are a different matter.

Custer-Gallatin National Forests Working Group
It has been busy, so I apologize that I still do not have the audio from the Sept. mtg and notes up yet, but y'all might want to take the time to listen to the audio from the Oct. meeting. This working group was created by county commissioners from 6 Montana counties, they added a 7th. Then these commissioners voted on who else they want in the working group to add legitimacy to it and for court purposes (per their statements).

Wilderness Man, The story of Joe Gutkoski
"By the time Joe retired in 1981 he had put in 33 years with the Forest Service. He spent much of that time preserving and growing public lands, and even now at 88 he continues to pursue those goals. Most impressive is that Joe stayed true to himself throughout his career, even when his goals were in conflict with his own agency.

I tell him the Forest Service was lucky to have him. He shrugs, saying that a lot of people would disagree—but I don’t think he gives a damn. What he does give a damn about are bison, rivers, mountains, clean air, and wild country."
On a personal note, Joe Gutkoski is one of my Montana treasures. Joe, as well as Jim Posewitz, Ron Moody, Norm Bishop and Jim Bailey are walking encyclopedias of knowledge, always eager to share and for a researcher like me, that is true wealth.

Public Lands
Montana Public Lands Guide - latest publication
This handbook is great reference material. I picked mine up from MSU Publishing Office, but you can order it here. It has charts, like the one of all 56 Montana counties with the listing of all State Public Land Ownership and another for Federal Public Land Ownership. For example, down here in Gallatin County there are 49,912 acres of DNRC land, 11,457 acres of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, then the smaller amounts owned by by various other State agencies. For the Federal Public Lands in Gallatin County there are 7,043 acres of BLM, 174 acres US Fish & Wildlife Services, 64,505 National Park Service and 79 acres for other Federal Lands. The Guide also lists laws that pertain to the Public Land Ownership such as the Taylor Grazing Act, Clean Water Act, Fish and Wildlife Act, National Environmental Policy Act, etc.Great reference book that is easy to reference at Public meetings. :)

What Transferring Lands Would Entail
"As a former director of the state’s Department of Resources and Conservation (DNRC), former county commissioner, and as a landowner in Teton County, I do know a thing or two about land management, and I have a few questions for Fielder and other proponents of this loony idea to transfer federal lands."

Defuse the West - Public-land employees are easy targets for a violent, government-hating fringe.
"We know about these incidents, and more, because High Country News has launched a sweeping investigation to unearth the official reports, using the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. We’ve focused on threats and violence against employees of two key federal agencies — the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management — both on- and off-duty, from 2010 to early 2014. The agencies have not yet provided HCN with all of the information we’ve requested, but what they’ve divulged so far reveals an ominous pattern of hostility toward government employees."

The Land Grab Out West
"LIKE a rerun of a bad Western, the battle over ownership of America’s public lands has revived many a tired and false caricature of those of us whose livelihoods and families are rooted in the open spaces of the West."

DEQ report: Majority of Montana's waters impaired
"The report identifies grazing on riverbanks or shorelines as the No. 1 confirmed cause of poorer water quality, affecting 136 bodies of water. Irrigated crop production comes next, affecting 52 water bodies."

Montana Water Quality Assessment Report 2014

Taxpayer subsidized logging make no sense
"The Gazette found the Forest Service in Montana generated $5.4 million in revenue 2013, of which $4.1 million came from timber sales. But here’s the rub: that amounts to only about 2.2 percent of the $179 million the Forest Service spent in Montana in 2013 on discretionary projects, timber sale preparation, salaries, and transportation. Maintaining campgrounds and trails and cleaning outhouses represents a small portion of the Forest Service budget in Montana and that was mostly off-set by the $1.3 million in revenue the agency collected from recreation fees in 2013. In other words, the Forest Service in Montana spent $179 million, mostly on timber sales, in Montana but only received $4.1 million in revenue from these sales. They lost millions on logging."

Leave Wilderness Alone
"What wilderness travelers always seem to bring back from the wild—just as surely as near-death survivors bring back tales of light at the end of a tunnel—is a sense of having encountered something true, organic, and whole. What deconstructionists bring back from their reading of theory is exactly the opposite, their sense of a morass of incompatible meanings and no truth at all.

No wonder the two camps don’t get along."

Public Wildlife
Widely used elk vaccine called ineffective
Widely used elk vaccine called ineffective
"Wyoming Game and Fish will continue using a brucellosis vaccine on elk even though the agency’s research says it has not stopped brucellosis-induced abortions and may increase the percentage of elk testing positive for the disease."
Wyoming Game and Fish will continue using a brucellosis vaccine on elk even though the agency’s research says it has not stopped brucellosis-induced abortions and may increase the percentage of elk testing positive for the disease. - See more at: http://wyofile.com/angus_thuermer/widely-used-elk-vaccine-called-ineffective/#sthash.Y3qRLnXg.dpuf

Wildlife commission rejects shipping sheep out of Montana
"But after hearing from multiple people who were opposed to the plan, Montana Fish and Wildlife commissioners meeting in Bozeman voted against the agency’s recommendations.
Commissioners said relocating sheep out of state should be a last resort, and that allowing the wildlife agency to do so now may cause officials to scale back their search for suitable in-state locations.

The commissioners urged the agency to speed up its study of the health risks of transferring sheep between existing herds and left open the possibility of changing the state’s bighorn sheep conservation strategy."

Wild Bison Herd Relocation
" 'While I encourage bison restoration to the tribe and for their cultural purposes, as a member of the hunting community, as a conservationist, I would very much like to see wild bison restored to Montana for the public trust,'  Conservationist Kathryn Qannayahu said.
This herd was deemed wildlife, had been through a 5 year quarantine period, was under FWP's jurisdiction as wildlife, paid for with sportsmen's dollars and we just gave away a brucellosis free herd to a Sovereign Nation, just as if we had given them to Canada. Now while I admire and encourage bison restoration to the Tribes, these bison, Yellowstone National Park genetics, were meant for wild bison restoration in Montana. The Interagency Bison Management Plan was created in 2000. These bison had five years in quarantine. How much frickin time does it take to restore wildlife to a piece of Public Lands in Montana? And we just gave them away because it was politically convenient instead of scientifically managing our wildlife. As I stated to the FWP Commission, I was glad that the Bighorn Sheep decision came first, because the Commissioners listened to the Public stating we wanted to keep those Bighorns in Montana for Montanans, rather than giving them away to another state when we need to grow our Bighorns with so many dieoffs that have taken place. Yet, they turned around and gave away our wild bison when we have NO RESTORED WILD BISON POPULATION ON MONTANA PUBLIC LANDS!!!

Into The Bear's Den
by Dave Stalling
"A quote about grizzlies from writer Bob McMeans also came to mind: 'We must stay out of their bedrooms.' Leave them space, is what he meant, keep some country wild. Stop building homes and roads and trails everywhere. But just then it had a more literal meaning for me, so Larry stood ready with pepper spray while I continued digging. Soon enough, we reached a dark tunnel under the rocks. With headlamp on, I cautiously climbed in, barely squeezing my way through an opening as wide as my shoulders into a dusky room the size of a small tent. Luckily, no one was home. A musky odor remained, along with a soft bed made of bear grass. Hoar frost hung from the ceiling where moisture rising from the bear all winter froze to the granite wall.

And there was hair, lots of hair."

Who We Are - Hunting Video
I am concerned about my food source, the quality of life for the animals that I eat, just as I do organic, permaculture gardening for my plant foods or harvesting from the wild. This video shows that respect for wild things and wild places.

I would like to thank the following contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Bonnie Lynn,
whose donation purchased an OCR program to aid in FOIA document hinderances. See when you scan a document for PDF, you can scan it for word searches, text copying. But my APHIS FOIA are sent as pic PDF's, which I am sure is intentional. They also run numerous documents together (I have 4 - 800 page documents they sent), which means I have to separate them back to their original pages. Electronically fighting for our Public Trust. :)

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

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