the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"
should make the private landowners think about what they can and
- Dale Schafer
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."
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."
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.
state leaders convene in Salt Lake City, urge control of federal
"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.
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
'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.' "
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."
land transfer idea is not dead yet by Robert
"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
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
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.
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."
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
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."
group gives FWP ‘guiding principles’
This Bison Working Group came up with some alternatives at the
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.
and profit coexist on Turner land by Todd
"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."
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.' "
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
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
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."
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."
feeding alters migration of temperate ungulates Study
lawmakers might use law to remove wolves from endangered species
"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
Elk Litigation Fund
PO Box 173, Butte, MT 59701
Sportsmen and Anaconda Sportsmens Associations lawsuit against
FWP & the FWP Commission