Archive for the ‘wilderness’ Category

By JC

Sheesh, not exactly what I wanted to do on a fine saturday afternoon, but after a couple of days of snarkism over at Pogie’s place, I’m feeling a bit vindictive. Seems that the Alliance for the Wild Rockies Director, Mike Garrity, has set off a firestorm, with all of the liberals in Helena getting their panties in a twist over some obscure reference to Vichy France and MWA.

I don’t see any real reason to relive the debate over Mike’s choice of words, they’ve been beaten to death in a near 100 comment marathon session that ripped the scabs off some old battle-worn scars. Mike’s words were contained in a Missoulian editorial written in response to an attack ad taken out by several of the “collaborators” working with the Montana Wilderness Association (MWA) on Senator Tester’s Logging Bill, of which I’ve had much to say, so I’m not going to go there again.

What I really want to get at is the mangling of the analogy that the learned folks at Intelligent Discontent were capable of, in order to set up another round of radical “extremist” enviro bashing. Of course, I had to wade in and lay some testimony to the good Senator’s “Sista Souljah” moment when he dissected himself from part of his 2006 winning coalition of lefty enviros and mainstream dems.

While Mike Garrity is fully capable of choosing his words carefully, and building an analogy that likens Foundation funding of MWA with Nazi (I know, I said the awful “N” word) subversion of France during WWII, I like to think of a different analogy for what it is that foundations like the Pew Trusts, and other denizens of the Environmental Grantmakers Association remind me of: Trojan Horses.

You see, Pew and a few other big foundations started the EGA in order to whip radical obstructionists into order, by drying up their funding, and only fund nonprofits that followed their methods and pursued their policies. And those policies and strategies are not to be so effective that things like real wilderness protection actually happens, but that just enough scraps get thrown out to their memberships and the general public that they think something substantial is being done.

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by jhwygir

For up-to-the-moment news from an affected landowner, please read Alexis Bonogofsky’s twitter timeline.

Of greatest interest today, she reports that Exxon did not send out their specialized crews today.

Nice, huh?

While MSNBC reports that Exxon officials are now saying the spill could extend beyond the 10 miles they’ve originally reported.

You don’t say? And I’m loving those qualifiers (could? Really? We’re in flood!)

Please take notice of the wildlife photos on that MSNBC story.

On that note, Ms. Bonogofsky, ranch owner of Blue Creek Farms has also reported on the immediate loss of wildlife from her Yellowstone River ranch.

I cry for her loss. It is heartbreaking to hear of this devastation. I wish there was something I could do.

Watch Mike Scott, who is co-owner with Alexis of Blue Creek farms, question Exxon in this KTVQ-NBC Billings report and video.

And again – on that note – ranch owners Alexis and Mike were kicked out of the press conference and public officials did nothing to stop this banishment.

The agriculture industry is being ruined down there along the Yellowstone and public officials are allowing Exxon to clean up their image by keeping affected landowners out of press conferences? Shame to any and all who escorted Alexis and Mike out of that press conference.

By JC

You know, Democrats really hate people who put policy before politics. Principles before compromises. Issues before elections. Especially when you’re talking about wilderness.

Seems that criticizing policy that seeks to release lands protected by the late Senator Lee Metcalf’s Montana Wilderness Study Act and other roadless and protected areas, in exchange for the official “designation” of a few hundred thousand acres of said protected land garners folks the “ilk” moniker from Dems.

Well, I happen to like the “ilk” that i have been associated with. So thanks to the thought police for pointing that out and reminding me who my friends are, here. I’d so rather work with folks who’d rather take a principled stand on the value of wilderness, instead of trading wilderness for votes.

Fighting for, and about wilderness has become a time-honored tradition in Montana between the body politic, and those who would protect or would destroy it. Sometimes, Dem gossip columnists get the facts mixed up a bit, and come off sounding a bit down-right hostile to enviros.
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by jhwygirl

The latest meme from our bloviating Governor Brian Schweitzer is that the Canadian tar sands – slated for expansion – are (get this) “conflict free”:

“I would say this is conflict-free oil and I don’t want to send one more son or daughter from Montana to defend an oil supply from one of these dictators and become dependent on that energy supply,” he said in an interview with the Canadian Press from his office in Helena.

Really?

There are Canadiansordinary citizens, doctors and Fort Chipewyan tribal members – that would disagree with you.

Does the fact that they don’t have bombs and guns make it conflict free? Because I don’t agree with that. I know I’m not the only one.

Hypocrisy and ignorance barely begins to describe the irony behind Schweitzer’s comments to the Canadian press this past week. Governor Schweitzer is a guy who doesn’t want to see the Flathead mined, yet approved a coal mine next to a Class 1 air shed (tromping on Crow tribal rights) and an alluvial floodplain right in Montana’s Tongue River valley.

Governor Schweitzer is a guy – born in Montana – who doesn’t seem to know his history, or even the higher cancer rates we saw right here in the upper Clark Fork basin because of the rape and pillage by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company (think Atlas Shrugs by Ayn Rand) that polluted everything near it from Butte to Missoula and beyond.

Schweitzer’s comments were made all the more pornographic given they occurred 30 years from when corporate irresponsibility suffocated Anaconda Montana.

Maybe The Brian should read Anaconda native Patrick Duganz’s words?

If they aren’t enough to expose him to the conflict of corporate irresponsibility, perhaps he should try and learn the lessons so many others haven’t forgotten of the dirty filth that mining has layed upon our lands.

Schweitzer sure is oblivious to this stuff isn’t he – and consider he’s got 130 million or so dollars of Natural Resource Damage Protection Program funds to spend to try and buy back lands to mitigate that environmental disaster thrust upon our state 100 years ago.

Maybe he forgot where that money came from?

Schweitzer is spouting off his newest talking point of “conflict free” as pressure mounts, nationwide, to stop the transport of the Korean-built Kearl modules up and over the Montana-Idaho border, adjacent to the Clearwater and Lochsa River, adjacent to Lolo Creek…through Missoula and next to the Blackfoot A-River-Runs-Through-It River, then up and over another mountain pass and on to the tar sands in Alberta.

Movie director and producer James Cameron? This Montanan thanks you.

Our Governor feigns to respect tribal peoples – yet the Nez Pierce, over who’s native lands these modules will travel – have objected to the modules.

Scientific journals are confirming high levels of carcinogens, mutagens, and teratogens such as mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium being thrust upon the native peoples of Canada. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America has published a paper explaining the pornography of the situation.

Discover Magazine has a pedestrian-friendly article on the issue.

Governor Schweitzer? You call yourself a scientist, don’t you? If cancer was reigning down in your watershed, would you call that “conflict free”?

Did Montana call that conflict free when it happened here?

by jhwygirl

Last month Director had told the Legislature’s Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee that their review of Exxon/Imperial Oil’s environmental analysis (yep, the applicant submitted the ea) would be completed by August 15th….while later he backtracked and said that he didn’t expect to have it by the end of August.

Well, here we are, middle-of-September, and the bad news continues to pile on. Forest Supervisors of both the Lolo and the Clearwater National Forests oppose the plans to move the rigs up and over Lolo Pass…and Oregon’s U.S. Representative Pete Fazio is >calling for an investigation into Exxon/Imperial Oil’s plans to ship giant equipment through Idaho and western Montana to an energy project in Canada.

Apparently the Helena National Forest is OK with the plans to move the Korean-built bohemaths up and over Roger’s Pass – yep, no potential there for major disruption…

Not only does the bad news continue to pile on, but Lynch had promised the EA “by early September.”

One does have to ponder the Lolo National Forest Supervisor’s current position – given that they had to rescind their decision to bury powerlines (the request the result of Exxon/Imperial Oil’s transport plans) given that they failed to consult with the tribes – Lolo Pass the site of the ancient native Nez Pierce tribe’s Nimi’ipuu trail.

Wonder because while they are taking comment on the proposal to bury the powerlines through September 24th and the scoping period is exactly (and only) 30 days. Rather odd considering both the controversy surrounding the project and the fact that the scoping is the result of them having overlooked even scoping the thing in the first place, don’t you think?

You can read the notice here and check the map out on the specifics here.

Let’s note, too, that the scoping notice does not mention the application is the result of Exxon/Imperial Oil’s need to have the lines buried so they can move their oil modules. It does, in fact, state the purpose of the initiation of the request by Missoula Electrical Cooperative is to “improve long-term service to local residences and businesses.”

Really?

Still, too, one has to ponder if MEC should really be the applicant? Isn’t Exxon/Imperial Oil paying for this burial? Or is it the customers of MEC? It does lay open the question, doesn’t it? Given that the stated purpose on the scoping notice is to improve long-term service to its customers?

Shame on the Lolo for misrepresenting that line burial project. Check out that map…there’s quite a bit of that line burial that is immediately adjact to Lolo Creek, endangered bull trout habitat.

Are lines being buried on the Clearwater National Forest? What permits are needed from both of these forests? Why doesn’t the fact that these transport plans affect at least 3 National Forests this thing isn’t being analyzed under a full NEPA environmental impact statement?

Why doesn’t the fact that this entire transport plan crosses multiple state jurisdictions and multiple countries warrant a full NEPA EIS by the Feds? Is our security that lax? Is the concern that little?

Hopefully the hypocrisy of the Lolo’s public notice for the burial of these powerlines won’t go un-noticed.

The public and our County Commissioners and City Council should provide comment asking the Lolo National Forest to ensure that it re-notice the application to note the full purpose of the project…and analyze the full effect of the connected actions of this proposal – the effects both here and in Canada on the Athabasca tribal peoples.

by JC

Walkin’ Jim Stoltz

Walkin' JIm Stoltz

Via Paul Richards:

Legendary American folksinger, backcountry traveler, and wilderness advocate James “Walkin’ Jim” Stoltz passed late Friday night, September 3, 2010, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, Montana.

Stoltz, age 57, a veteran performer for 35 years, earned his nickname “Walkin’ Jim,” by hiking more than 27,000 miles through wild country in North America. Packing a guitar and penning extraordinary lyrics along the trails, Walkin’ Jim’s always-humble-yet-strikingly-powerful songs voiced enormous respect and appreciation for the Earth, its wild places, and the wild critters that he carefully studied and truly adored.

I met Walkin’ Jim almost 25 years ago, and had the honor of listening to his music, and following his adventures through the years. I worked with Jim on his Musicians United to Sustain the Environment (MUSE) nonprofit and website for many years, and found his selfless and boundless energy to be an inspiration in my work and music, and that carried me through many a rough time when the going seemed dark and unfathomable.

I am grateful that I was able to attend Walkin’ Jim’s last public concert in Montana, a benefit for the Last Best Place Wilderness Campaign on March 6th, 2010 at the Stensrud Building in Missoula. The gravel in his voice that night was a portentous reminder of the fleeting moment we all experience upon this planet. The purity of his spirit and being serves as a reminder to us all that we can rise above the petty nonsense that passes for politics, and ground ourselves in the land from which we all arose, and to which we all shall pass.

Buffalo Spirit
“Buffalo Spirit” by Walkin’ Jim Stoltz

May the Buffalo Spirit carry you far on your journeys–forever wild and free, my friend.

———–

“Forever Wild”
By Walkin’ Jim Stoltz

There’s a magic in the air, that I feel when I am there,
It plays straight to my heart, and lays it all a’bare,
It’s in the cry of the eagle and the deer so meek and mild,
It’s in the rise of a mountain, let it stay Forever Wild.

Forever wild, Forever Wild
Let it stay, Forever Wild.

It’s in all that is not tame, and some that can’t be named,
It’s in the fog down in the valley, and the scent of summer rain,
It’s in the scream of a lion when she’s soundin’ like a child,
It’s in the song of a river, let it stay Forever Wild.

Forever wild, Forever Wild
Let it stay, Forever Wild.

Now the Earth it holds the key to all that shall be free,
It’s in the peace of the desert and the wisdom of the trees,
It’s in the grace of a swan’s wing and the grizzly when she’s riled
It’s in all the love I bear it, let it stay Forever Wild.

Forever wild, Forever Wild
Let it stay, Forever Wild.

There are those of my own kind, they’re runnin’ fast, but goin’ blind
And the only thing they worship, is their God, the dollar sign
We must fight* them with our Spirit, with our might, and with our guile
We must show them that the answer: It must be Forever Wild.

Forever wild, Forever Wild
Let it stay, Forever Wild.

Forever wild, Forever Wild
Let it stay, Forever Wild.

By Walkin’ Jim Stoltz on Wild Wind Records
©1986 by Walkin’ Jim Stoltz

by jhwygirl

This Montanan thinks ya’all are awesome.

I also think the Nez Pierce rock, too.

Montanans? We need to get after it.

by jhwygirl

….in Idaho, it seems.

Idahoans don’t seem to have any love for Exxon/Imperial Oil’s Kearl module transport plan to move oversized loads over the historic and scenic highway 12 which runs adjacent to the Wild and Scenic designated Lochsa River and Lolo Creek.

There’s a group of Idahoans suing the state to halt the movement of the oversized loads, charging that Idaho did not follow its own rules to issue the permit. The cite concerns over could threaten public safety, harm tourism in an area that relies on it and pose a risk to the pristine river corridors:

“Whether Highway 12 will remain an outstanding tourist and recreation destination that provides jobs and revenues to the local community – or become a congested industrial ‘high and wide’ corridor for the conveniences of the oil industry … – are matters of great concern to the plaintiffs and many others in the area.”

Idaho residents have also called for a full Environmental Impact Statement from the Clearwater National Forest on the project, saying that the USFS has a responsibility to protect that corridor.

Now – this route passes through the Lolo National Forest, too. What has the Lolo done? They didn’t consult with the tribes (as they are required to do under NEPA and they categorically excluded the project from need of any additional environmental analysis.

Burying power lines on federal lands (as opposed to the overhead lines there currently) apparently doesn’t have any impacts, according to the Lolo.

Hard to believe.

NEPA, unlike the MEPA review that the Montana Department of Transportation is attempting (and truncated one – an “environmental analysis” – at that, requires an analysis of connected actions – connected actions such as the impact on air and water quality as a result of these big things being delivered to Canada for tar sands processing. The economic impact of having these things assembled in Korea, shipped here and transported whole to Canada.

The list goes on for this one.

Exxon/Imperial, for their part haven’t been very neighborly here in Montana – but it might be that they don’t have to: As JC pointed out, our carbon fuel-loving Governor supports all those flag-waving jobs the project will bring for Montanans.

Yeah! Go Korea!

MDOT, for its part, should be should be releasing its decision any day now

I know I wait with bated breath.

Got that right this time, I think.

I hope someone on this side of the pass is scrutinizing that “categorical exclusion” of the Lolo National Forest….and I guess we’ll all have to wait and see what comes out of MDOT in the next few days.

It is possible that MDOT has determined that there are significant enough impacts that a full EIS is needed. Both Missoula County Commissioners and Missoula City Council have requested an EIS – as did much of the public comment.

But of course, this is the same department that said that this was the only oversized load in the pipeline, which was an outright lie. Multiple loads line await on the docks in Lewistown.

Of course, they could be banking on the low median income of the people of the state and the financial stress on non-profits to sue ’em.

It’s wait and see…wait and see.

by jhwygirl

That’s what many said to the State Land Board (and to 3 of its 5 members, Governor Schweitzer, Secretary of State Linda McDulloch and Auditor Monica Lindeen) before then went ahead anyway and approved the Otter Creek coal leases.

Not before – let’s not forget – a poorly orchestrated show between Governor Schweitzer and Linda McCulloch, who first added a bonus bid of 15 cents/ton. Four of ’em played along in that one (with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau casting the lone dissenting vote), but in the end, even Attorney General Steve Bullock changed his mind, seeing through the corporate welfare that was, eventually, approved – a 40% drop in price (and let’s not feign that this was in any way a “bid” given that only one entity could competitively bid on it, given the land-locked nature of the state lands involved and the fact that the bidder is the one that land-locks the land) along with a $57 million instant subsidy of the coal corporate giants.

Can’t forget, either, that a railroad that will also need to be condemned through Montana’s eminent domain laws – that’s condemnation of private land in the interest of a private corporate entity, folks – a railroad that will save that private corporate entity well in the range of $100 million a year in hauling costs from Wyoming’s extensive coal fields down south.

Don’t try and tell me that coal isn’t subsidized – a industry as old as the world is still gaining both federal and state subsidy to operate. Ridiculous.

Oh, yeah – there was more. The votes were disappointing (Schweitzer, McCulloch and Monica I-campaigned-on-a-biodiesel-bus Lindeen). Even Button Valley was getting an overload of it, as was I, as Governor Brian Schweitizer headed out around the state pushing on communities to sign a oath to coal in order to get their legislatively appropriated stimulus money.

An illegal transgression that was largely overlooked – as was the stashing of that Otter Creek bid money in this year’s general budget instead of going to schools as it is legally obligated to do (along with that whole the-legislature-is-the-only-lawful-appropriator-of-money thing). It’s something that is coming home to roost, those illegal transgressions, and quickly becoming a private joke amongst many of us who railed against both of these things when they were occurring.

But we’ll leave that for another post, and the real journalists who are already asking the questions. Enable once, shame on you..enable twice, shame again…but sure as hell don’t get indignant about it the third time around…

Enter now Northern Plains Resource Council, the Wildlife Federation, Montana Environmental Information Center and the Sierra Club, who collectively filed two lawsuits this week challenging the Otter Creek coal lease approval.

NPRC and WF said that the state land board failed to adequately analyze the environmental effects of the project. MEIC and SC challenged on the basis of the economic and global warming effects of the project.

There are a myriad of problems with Otter Creek. I’m mystified as to the embracing – in a state that seems to champion individual property rights – of a project that will railroad over the private property rights of individuals (pun intended).

I’m also mystified that a state – in a time of general budget distress not only internally, but nationwide – would dish out such corporate welfare to the detriment of our very own children’s education funding.

What’s the real shame is that Montana’s citizens – and its very worthy non-profits – have to sue to get the state to meet its constitutional obligations outlined in what is known in our state constitution as the Montana Environmental Policy Act.

This can not and should not be taken lightly. I don’t care how many laws that the legislature passes or tries to pass attacking it. This is a constitutional guarantee. Guarantee. And this word can not be overemphasized enough. This isn’t some old state constitution. It is a modern document, with words that were carefully chosen, discussed and debated in modern many-remember-them times. Guarantee was not a word chosen or placed lightly, and it leaves little room for discussion.

It is the law of the land. Our state agencies, our land board and our Governor all have the obligation to make sure that guarantee is met each and every day. Shame on them for having to be sued to comply with constitutional obligations.

by jhwygirl

I certainly hope the Dems in Kalispell are paying attention to this.

Democratic candidate for HD8, Dane Clark, of Kalispell was handing out tea party pamphlets, packin’ heat (because rumors of agent provocateurs, it seemed prudent) and passing out campaign lit for Mark French, Republican primary congressional wingnut racist bigot from Sanders County.

~~~~
James Conner never writes enough for me. I wish he wrote more – but it looks like he’s done two pieces recently, both regarding Flathead County politics.

I did read his eulogy for friend Loren Kreck, back when he posted it a couple weeks ago. Loren Kreck is an environmental hero that I had never heard of, yet generations of Montanans – generations of people – will benefit from his diligent work to preserve the North Fork of the Flathead.

James? You did Loren righteous. It’s a beautiful piece of writing.

by Pete Talbot

I certainly hope so. I’ve been able to catch most of the documentary on our country’s national parks, produced by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, and airing on Montana PBS stations. It’s an extraordinary series.

The show’s subtitle is “America’s Best Idea.” Well, it certainly is one of them. And our national park system is unique to America.

The historical battle to authorize pristine areas “for all people” and to preserve and maintain them for future generations is fascinating. It was often a few dedicated, passionate (and sometimes very wealthy) individuals who convinced congress to establish these national parks, one at a time. The obstacles were many and the arguments against forming these national treasures sound very familiar to the debate surrounding the protection of what’s left of our wild and scenic landscapes today.

Fortunately, the national park advocates of generations ago prevailed. Can you imagine this country without Grand Canyon National Park or Yosemite, Yellowstone or Glacier?

Around the same time the show premiered, Sen. Tester was in Bozeman explaining his Montana wilderness proposal. There seems to be some discontent on all sides of the issue. It’s the usual players: wilderness advocates v. the extractive industries, motorized vehicle riders v. hikers v. mountain bikers v. horseback riders …

Most everyone applauds the Senator for his effort, though, and appreciates his balanced approach (although they wish it was balanced more in their direction).

The final draft is yet to hit the Senate so here’s a plea from a constituent. Jon, as you are weighing the options, please come down on the side of wilderness. If the PBS documentary taught me anything, it’s that they’re not making too much of it anymore and future generations will thank you.

by JC

Montana Senator Jon Tester released his logging bill today, and it calls for a mandated timber harvest across 100,000 acres of forest lands over the next decade. I don’t have time to pore over the details this afternoon, but i thought that our readers would like to see what our Senator has been up to behind closed doors. I’ll post an update later with reactions to the bill.

The pdf of the bill can be downloaded for viewing, and I’d appreciate it if our readers would take a look and post their comments about the bill and its particulars to this story. Please keep your comments concise and link to extended statements elsewhere if needed.

Email release from Senator Tester’s office is below the fold.

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Updates:

The Missoulian just posted a map (3.5MB pdf) of the Bill’s prescriptions.
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by JC

When major legislation is introduced at RY Timber Co. in Townsend at 1 p.m. Friday. That’s when. This would kinda be like Baucus announcing the arrival of his legislation to reform health care by going to the steps of United Health or Aetna, and holding a press conference there.

When is a “Forest” bill not a wilderness bill? According to the Missoulian:

Sen. Jon Tester plans to unveil a draft of his new forest land management bill this Friday in Townsend.

The word “wilderness” did not appear in Tuesday’s announcement of what many consider the first federal wilderness legislation to come out of the Montana congressional delegation since 1988.

In a news release, Tester described the bill as “designed to create jobs in Montana’s forests.”

Tester not putting the word “wilderness” in his press release is kinda like Sarah Palin not mentioning global warming in her recent oped on cap & trade. But when you are just sliding a little wilderness into legislation designed to cater to the logging industry and a few self-interested national environmental groups and multi-national corporations, then I guess you don’t want to piss off your constituents contributors too much by advertising any wilderness in your press releases.

In case you don’t make it to Townsend, Tester will be in Seeley Lake touting his jobs bill on Saturday at the Chamber of Commerce at high noon.

Oh, and lest I forget, there already is a fine jobs bill in Congress that truly is a wilderness bill out there, if Jon wanted to take a look.

By JC

20 years ago I was the editor of a fledgling eco-rag, the Wild Rockies Review. As I was cleaning out some corners of one of my closets, I came across a pile of paste ups (that’s what we constructed back in the days, as we got used to our Mac Plusses and Pagemaker thingies). And an article struck me as having an odd resonance across the last two decades, covered with much dust collected as my life took varied turns and twists.

So I thought as an introduction, you all might like to have an insight as to where my thinking was as a starry-eyed budding radical, back during the time of Reagan and Bush I.

“Today we are witnessing the erosion of our fundamental constitutional rights, and our rights as inhabitants of this planet. It is an era wherein individuals engage in the role of protecting the inalienable rights of the non-human world against the philosophy of political freedom espoused by the likes of former Secretary of the Interior, James Watt. Freedom takes many a turn for those who involve themselves in the battle of natural vs political rights.

McCarthyism rears its ugly head once again as our political system silences those who attempt to uncover its dirty secrets. Unfortunately, our idealistic and naive sensibilities have left us vulnerable to those who have studied the arts of political and ideological suppression, and are putting them to use. We are but a small and vocal minority of individuals who dare speak from the heart and mind, not the pocketbook, in our defense of the planet and its inhabitants…

Many sit by and wring their hands as they struggle with their ingrained tendency to let things slide, believing in the false security of the status quo–the pablum that our elected officials, industry, and their paid dogs feed us in our advertiser supported and controlled (read exploitive) media….”

–excerpted from “Political Freedom: The Art of Selective Democracy, and the Fall of America,” Wild Rockies Review, Summer Solstice, 1989

…the more they stay the same.”

by jhwygirl

I’ll just reprint what I have in its entirety – but please note the deadline is July 15th, which is next Wednesday. Region 2 includes Missoula – and this page includes a little map, showing the entire region.

From the FWP press release:

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is still looking for applicants to fill four slots on the Region 2 Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC). The deadline to apply is July 15.

The 16-member CAC is a general advisory committee that provides input and guidance to FWP on a diverse array of issues—from wildlife and fisheries management to access, recreation and law enforcement.

The panel of volunteers typically has four to five evening meetings per year in Missoula. Members serve four year terms and can reapply when their terms expire. Meals and travel expenses are provided.

Applicants are being sought to fill vacancies created by term expirations of members serving from Anaconda, Hamilton and Missoula. These members represented parks and recreation, wildlife, fish, private business and landowner/rancher interests.
Residents of those areas and/or with those interests are encouraged to apply for the vacancies, however applicants will be considered from across west-central Montana, including the counties of Ravalli, Missoula, Deer Lodge, Powell, Granite, Mineral and the southwestern portion of Lewis & Clark.

To apply, download an application at fwp.mt.gov/r2 (Select the Citizen Advisory Committee menu button), email or call Vivaca Crowser at vvcrowser@mt.gov, or 406-542-5518. Or, stop by the FWP Region 2 Office in Missoula, 3201 Spurgin Road.

bear1

by problembear

“we expect the good citizens of philadelphia to take good care of and protect the liberty bell. shouldn’t montana do the same with our wild lands?”

one of the best parts of the early false spring days of february in missoula is the warming sun triggers thoughts of summer wilderness trails leading around boulders and subalpine fir to a hidden basin where a bear can find solace from the fray of political and societal issues and pressures. it is the memory of a tiny two inch wide spring which gurgles beneath a rock ledge. it is the daydream thoughts of a soft fluttering of wings above and the startling call of the robber jay as it steals greedily and boldly closer to my lunch. it is the soft rustle of grass as a round eared pika peaks furtively toward me with her small bundle of “hay”.

wilderness thoughts come every spring even though i visit less and less these days into that wild part of the world where i feel safest and most myself. it is interesting to feel those stirrings of passionate beliefs come welling out of me like a force fed spring from a snowfield in july. a post by Bill Schneider over at New West a few weeks ago triggered old feelings about those old wilderness battles with a vengeance. i became predictably problemish in the discussion and the entire discussion between commenters leaves me wondering where does montana go from here.

Bill is getting weary of the battle of the greens and i cannot blame him. my own personal history of working to save wilderness mostly occured in oregon (back then called the Oregon Wilderness Coalition) during the period of 1974 through 1984. in that time i do not recall the enmity between groups in oregon that seems to occur here in montana. for that reason (and because in 1985, when i moved here i did not feel qualified to speak about lands i knew little about) i kind of stepped back and played a more supportive role on the sidelines as i watched folks like Mike Bader, Bob Yetter, Howie Wolke and other men and women battle the wilderness war for a couple of decades here. i could see that the rivalry between the Alliance For The Wild Rockies and other more staid groups like the Montana Wilderness Association and the Sierra Club was reaching a fevered pitch which absolutely precluded any meaningful communication between them.

this is a shame. here we sit in montana – surrounded by so much wild land in what i consider the great crossroads of wilderness in the contiguous united states and nobody can seem to come to the table and agree about how much and what we should save. it seems absurd to me, but i refrained from bellyaching about it because i was a native oregon black bear who had made his home among grizzly bears it seems and sticking my head up just didn’t seem too smart. but now that i have lived here almost 24 years i guess i am feeling it is time for some straight talk about what i think needs to be done here.

The Montana Wilderness Association. MWA needs to get on the dime and start protecting some wild lands. it is an organization that has been around since 1958 and in it’s first twenty five years it was a primal force in saving wild lands in montana. now, however, MWA seems to be more interested in it’s own precious credibility among law-makers and the powerful rather than advocates for Wilderness. where is the zeal to save wild lands?

other Montana groups Sierra Club? Audobon? Wilderness Society? where the hell are you guys-women? i don’t see anything from any of you on protecting wilderness this year and i read a lot of stuff.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies AWR probably needs to come to the table with more respect for the MWA and it’s viewpoints in order to move it’s current bill in congress closer to enactment. simply throwing insults at each other will get no one anywhere. (i am guilty of this also but today i am trying to be objective in thinking exactly what is needed to protect our most precious montana legacies for future generations and to encourage a dialogue which is more respectful of each other’s viewpoints.)

there is another country wide omnibus multi wilderness bill currently trying to migrate it’s way through congress which very conspicuously contains no wilderness proposals from montana. as someone who has supported AWR from the sidelines all these years it just seems like montana’s wilderness groups are not doing enough to come to the table and talk. how can we expect reasonable lawmakers like tester and baucus and a predominately democratic congress and a supportive president to help us if we wilderness supporters can’t agree on anything?

it seems we are acting childish and stupid right when the winds of change are most receptive to protecting these lands.  this is not a plea from me so much as a plea from the lands themselves for all you humans to change your stupid ways and finally come together and talk so we can be saved.by the way there is a great resource for some information available on this from missoula’s own aldo leopold wilderness institute to help fuel your comments with specific details.

so please consider this post to be an open thread about how you would like montana to approach the unapproachable stalemate of wilderness. i realize there is a lot of emotion out there about this topic. (only gun control gets more comments) but i will try my best to restrain myself and other’s comments from straying past the bounds of a good rollicking, chair-throwing, honest debate here. but try to keep it on topic. of course, i realize the economy takes precedent in these days (people are hurting out there) but i just thought a little hike into the wilderness issue might be nice- get our minds off the societal day to day survival things and think a little about our legacy as westerners and as montanans.  i will sit back and let people talk without too much interference on this because my paws are tired from all this typing and i think i smell fresh cinnamon rolls wafting from a certain little rodents den…..now, take a hike…




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