Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"It should make the private landowners think about what they can and can’t do."
- Dale Schafer

Arduous Pursuit: What we Understand, we can Honor and Sustain by Dave Stalling
"While working to protect wild places, some fellow wilderness advocates often chastise me for being a hunter. At the same time, some fellow hunters deride me for advocating for wilderness. 'I don’t feel a part of either group,' I told Jim. 'I just don’t know where I fit in.' He laughed. 'You know why?' he asked, smiling, leaning in close as if to let me in on some great secret. 'Because you and I, we’re Leopoldians, and there aren’t many of us around.'

Of course he might just as well said 'Rooseveltians' or even 'Posewitzians.' Thanks, in large part, to Jim’s persistent efforts there are, everyday, more and more of us Leopoldians around."

Public Comment Sought On Illegal Wilks Wildlife Obstructing Fence
Update: thank you to those that wrote to BLM State Director Jamie Connell and requested the survey and fence investigation. I received a call the afternoon of Oct. 9th from the BLM stating they were initiating a professional Cadastral survey of the BLM lands known as the Durfee Hills. This is a very thorough survey including narrative field points. "A cadastral/official survey is the highest form of boundary evidence available to the Federal Government, providing legal evidence of the geographic limits of the Federal interest in land." BLM Survey Manual, pg. 2.

This is just the beginning of this process. They hope to begin the survey about the middle of next week after another survey job is completed. Included below are pictures of the ground disruption provided by a conservation hunter, I forgot to include in the alert on the 8th. Click for larger view. I am looking into the regulations concerning ground disruption, resource damage, etc. Please take a moment to thank BLM's Jamie Connell and Stan Benes for listening to the public's concerns, moving quickly on this,- agencies often get complaint letters, lets show them the public's appreciation for listening to the public and moving so quickly.
jconnell@blm.gov gbenes@blm.gov

Pic 1, Pic 2, Pic 4

Public Lands
Western state leaders convene in Salt Lake City, urge control of federal lands
"Representative from 14 states... met in Salt Lake City this week and unanimously endorsed a public policy statement that calls on the federal government to turn its lands over to state control...More than 80 officials including Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder, South Carolina Assemblyman Alan Clemmons and Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell met for three days this week in Utah in a workshop hosted by the American Lands Council...

Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder said there has been confusion over the destiny of the lands once they end up in state control. 'There will not be a boogeyman that will sell off these lands. It will be the people of the states who decide,' she said. Fielder, who said she is a recreation planner by trade married to a wildlife biologist, said states will ultimately be better stewards of the lands because the residents there are intimately more acquainted with them. 'We care more about these lands than the people who don't live here,' she said. 'It's just not a priority for them.' " Clearly Sen. Fielder's "priority" is not listening to the majority of Montanan's who keep stating we do NOT want our Federal Public Lands in State hands.

Public access scores major victory in Modesty Creek ruling
"Krueger ruled the road remain open during the pending litigation. Letica and Don McGee, a landowner with about 1,000 acres next to the Montana Big Horn Ranch, appealed the order, arguing the road isn’t a county road and that their property rights are being violated. The Montana Supreme Court upheld the judge’s decision in February.

The road connects to about 12,000 acres of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, and allows the public to access a number of lakes that are difficult to reach from any other route. The only other way to access the area is from the Philipsburg area...

'You see this more and more, landowners or people moving in, buying up property and closing public access. This should set some precedents,' he said. 'It should make the private landowners think about what they can and can’t do. The public access is important to anybody. We pay for that and we should be able to enjoy it.' "

Keep Public Lands in Public Hands by Ben Long
"Pull back the curtain and it’s pretty clear that the end game here is not to transfer public lands to the state, but to 'transfer them' once and for all, to private hands. The out-of-staters behind this idea think that all states should be like Texas, nearly entirely devoid of public lands.

Consider that right now in Montana, some Texas oilmen (the Wilks Brothers) who own a big ranch near Lewistown are harassing hunters, throwing up fences and driving elk off federal BLM lands adjacent to their ranch. They want the elk to themselves."

Public land transfer idea is not dead yet by Robert Saldin
"First, earlier in last week’s EQC meeting, another vote was taken that would have explicitly directed the legislature not to pursue the land transfer. That measure failed on an 8-8 tie. Taken together, the two votes mean that the Council chose to remain silent on the question of transferring federal lands, effectively punting the issue back to the full legislature....

Montana is blessed to play host to over 25 million acres of public lands that are the birthright of all Americans. While improving federal management will always be an important goal, it’s important to consider the full range of issues at stake. Looking ahead to the upcoming legislative session, Montanans would be wise to exercise caution around the topic of federal land management. The transfer idea is far from dead, and the arguments being advanced to justify it require serious scrutiny."

Five Face Charges in Wake of Recapture Canyon Protest Ride
Five southern Utah men are facing federal charges for their involvement in a May protest in Recapture Canyon, a 28-mile stretch of colorful rocky cliffs, fragrant juniper trees and evidence of ancient Anasazi occupancy.

The men, including San Juan County, Utah, Commissioner Phil Lyman, are each being charged with two misdemeanors stemming from a May 10 protest in the canyon, which the Bureau of Land Management closed to motorized vehicles seven years ago. More than 100 protestors participated and several individuals drove all-terrain vehicles into the canyon.

Writers on the Range: Trail dogs do the grunt work on our public lands by Jimmy Tobias
"What does this mean for trail workers and trail users? It means that many ranger districts have stopped fielding trail crews altogether. It means there are fewer access points to the public lands, fewer trails from which to hunt or fish, and fewer opportunities to take a horseback ride or an ATV adventure in the national forest. It means that more sediment is washing off old eroded trails and into pristine streams. And it means there are fewer job opportunities for young outdoor enthusiasts who want to be a part of our country’s magnificent public-lands legacy.

The agency’s acceptance of this trend is a breach of public trust. It’s a betrayal of the conservationists — notably members of the Civilian Conservation Corps and their trail-dog descendants — who labored over generations to ensure public access to the public lands. It also shows heedless disregard for the 313 million Americans and counting who increasingly rely on our trail system for affordable recreation.

The Forest Service needs to resist its drift toward neglect and urge Congress to put a little balance back in the agency’s budget. And maybe it’s time for trail dogs to show their teeth and start howling until our public lands get the respect and care they deserve."

Public Wildlife
FWP Commissioner Meeting in Bozeman Oct. 16th
On the Agenda are the Marias River WMA Wanken Settlement and the Quarantine Bison Placement. Also, there is a morning Elk Hunting Season Structure Review first thing in the morning that I hear the outfitters are wanting to greatly affect.

State delays decision on controversial elk plan by Brett French
"The Skyline Sportsmen’s Association and Anaconda Sportsmen’s Club, through their Bozeman attorney, also are requesting that an environmental impact review be performed before any further actions are taken to haze, fence out or kill elk on private land in an attempt to control the spread of brucellosis...

'The hunters are the ones who are getting seriously screwed on this,' said Kathryn QannaYahu, a Bozeman woman who has burrowed into reams of research data and attended numerous meetings on the brucellosis issue. The sportsmen’s lawsuit, pending before state District Judge Mike Menahan in Helena, was based in part on her research...

On a separate front, Sen. Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman, had requested a legislative audit of all brucellosis prevention efforts undertaken by FWP and the DOL. But he turned in the request too late for it to be considered, he said.

Phillips said he’d like to see an independent analysis of FWP and DOL’s work on the elk-brucellosis issue to see if state funds are being spent wisely. He said the current plan being considered by FWP, where large fences could be constructed seasonally to keep cattle and elk separate, is a “losing proposition” with no end in sight."

Bison group gives FWP ‘guiding principles’
This Bison Working Group came up with some alternatives at the Billings Working Group Meeting on July 14 & 15. The draft alternatives produced there were supposed to be incorporated into the FWP Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, as published on May 2012 (pg. 6), which involves the Public Scoping process. Instead, those alternatives produced by the Working Group appear to have replaced the Programmatic EIS process.

Predators and profit coexist on Turner land by Todd Wilkinson
"It’s not that Turner hasn’t made mistakes along the way, though he readily admits that he’s learned more from making course corrections in his thinking than from stretches when it’s been smooth sailing...

Across more than a dozen ranches Turner today has a bison herd that numbers more than 50,000; no, he doesn’t manage them heavy-handedly as if they were domestic cattle.
Because of state laws he is required to fence his bison in. He’s had few problems, however, with bison getting loose on neighboring property. At the same time his fences allow ready cross-boundary movement of public elk, moose, pronghorn, and deer that spend part of the year on Turner grass (which he welcomes) and other seasons beyond his property."

A Path For Pronghorns: Fence removal, modification aiding Yellowstone pronghorns
"After taking out the old fence, a new enclosure around the site was built with smooth wire 18 inches above the ground on the bottom. That’s important since pronghorns typically won’t jump a fence, preferring to crawl under. The top wire of the fence was also set lower than usual to allow other wildlife like elk and deer to more easily jump over.

'It’s a great partnership that NPCA formed,' said John Sandford, a BLM natural resource specialist who took part in the work on Friday and last year. 'They’ve gotten a lot of stuff done with volunteer labor and even supplied the material.' "

Scientists' Letter in Support of Bison Restoration
"The undersigned scientists, we acknowledge and appreciate the initial steps that have been taken in Montana toward restoration of a wild herd of genetically sound bison somewhere on Montana’s Great Plains...

In 2000, the Interagency Bison Management Plan was adopted, calling for maintaining a wild, free - ranging bison population in Montana with safeguards for Montana’s livestock industry. It is now time to develop a collaborative process leading to a management plan yielding this result. Montana’s management planning process will create the opportunity to bring ranchers and bison advocates to the table to work on finding solutions to concerns...

The greatest challenge to recovery of this species is not biological but rather overcoming the common perception that bison, which have had a profound influence on human history and grassland ecosystems for over 10,000 years, no longer belong on these landscapes. Some think that bison should be managed as an ancient relic behind a fence to be viewed but not fully experienced. The biological future for bison is dismal if this view remains entrenched in the American psyche. The key to the ecological recovery of this species is recognition that the American bison is a wildlife species that needs to be conserved and managed as wildlife...

We encourage the state, through Gov. Bullock’s leadership, to hear from a wide range of interests and to broaden participation in a bison conservation dialogue among the various sectors of the Montana public. Especially important in this regard is the inclusion of Montana’s Native Americans, who have a special cultural relationship with bison. Engaging a full range of public sectors, including Native Americans, hunters, recreationists, conservationists, local tourism businesses, landowners and industry in an effective dialogue is essential to ecological recovery of this species. We realize this will not be easy, but, just as the early champions for the first recovery of bison faced challenges, we are confident that thoughtful evaluation, civil public discourse and subsequent decision processes will lead to a significant recovery of this important wildlife species."

Study: Elk feeding curtails migration
" 'The long-term feeding of migratory elk in Wyoming, not all of which attend feedgrounds, has essentially created a landscape-scale experiment in the alteration of seasonal forage resources and its impact on migration,' lead author Jennifer Jones wrote.

Migration is a benefit to ungulates because it allows them to chase young forage that’s just greening up and is the most nutritious. To take advantage of that forage, elk follow spring uphill each year, lingering in the high country into fall to eat still-green plants. The tendency to follow the green-up is diminished in fed elk herds, Jones found."
Supplemental feeding alters migration of temperate ungulates Study

Wyoming's lawmakers might use law to remove wolves from endangered species list
"The Fish and Wildlife Service delisted wolves in Wyoming in 2012, allowing the state to manage them, including overseeing the past two hunting seasons. Washington, D.C.’s U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson took control from Wyoming on Sept. 23 and sent it back to the feds.

Even though wolves were recovered with genetic diversity, Wyoming’s plan was not adequate to support continued recovery, she ruled. At issue was a guarantee Wyoming made to keep more than the minimum number of wolves required by law in the state. Wyoming wrote the promise in an addendum instead of including it in the formal plan.
The state filed an emergency rule adding the addendum into the regulation, but Jackson denied the request Tuesday, telling the Fish and Wildlife Service to start the delisting process over again.


Skyline/Anaconda Elk Litigation Fund
PO Box 173, Butte, MT 59701
Skyline Sportsmen and Anaconda Sportsmens Associations lawsuit against FWP & the FWP Commission

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

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