Welcome to the Swan View Coalition

Our work and play are dedicated to conserving community and quiet habitat for fish, wildlife and people. Established in 1984 (Tax ID #81-0423034), we work to:
  • Conserve the Peace and Quiet essential to public health and the health of our native ecosystems.
  • Ensure timber sale programs on public lands truly sustain water quality, fish and wildlife.
  • Pursue these goals through public education and public involvement whenever possible, and through administrative appeals and lawsuits when necessary.
This article published on July 05, 2011 • [Permalink]


Second Round of Flathead Forest Plan Lawsuits Filed!

Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan are in the process of filing three new lawsuits against the revised Flathead Forest Plan's building of logging roads in threatened grizzly bear and bull trout habitat!

In response to our 2019 lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy on 6/24/21 ordered FWS to redo its 2017 Biological Opinion approving the revised Forest Plan because it had abandoned key requirements of the prior Forest Plan's Amendment 19. He did not, however, order the Forest Service to rewrite similarly flawed portions of it Forest Plan.

Earthjustice on 2/15/22 filed a notice on our behalf that we would appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Molloy's 6/24/21 failure to find the Forest Service in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and order a rewrite of the similarly flawed portions of its Forest Plan and Environmental Impact Statement.

FWS issued its revised Biological Opinion on 2/16/22, which failed to require the protections afforded grizzly bear and bull trout under the prior Forest Plan Amendment 19.

Earthjustice on 5/31/22 filed a new lawsuit on our behalf against FWS and its revised Biological Opinion. Here is the news coverage in the Flathead Beacon, Missoula Current and Hungry Horse News.

Earthjustice on 7/19/22 filed on our behalf the required 60-day notice that we intend to sue the Forest Service for once again relying on FWS's flawed Biological Opinion to abandon the Amendment 19 road management program in its revised Forest Plan. We will file the actual lawsuit after the 60 days advance notice expires.

We are more than grateful for Earthjustice and its continued excellent representation of us, the bears and the trout in these lawsuits.

Click here for more information about our initial 2019 lawsuit against the revised Flathead Forest Plan and click here for more information about Judge Molloy's initial ruling.

And please DONATE NOW to support our work and the continuation of these important lawsuits. Act quickly and Cinnabar Foundation will match the first $4,000 in donations that we receive, doubling your impact!

 

 

 

This article published on August 11, 2022 • [Permalink]


Winter-Spring Newsletter: To Wonder or Plunder?

Our Winter-Spring 2022 newsletter takes a sobering look at how, contrary to the way forest ecosystems function and the need to keep carbon stored in trees to combat climate warming, the government and industry instead want to log/thin all the forests they can get their hands on while building all the more logging roads to get it done!

Below is our newsletter's table of contents. Click here to view or download our newsletter as a pdf.

A big THANK YOU to those of you who have made donations that support our continuing work!

Won't you join them and make a donation today?

Fish, wildlife and people are counting on us - and you!

This article published on May 13, 2022 • [Permalink]


Help Stop Commercial Crowding of the Flathead National Forest!

Your comments are needed now to object to commercial permits that promote crowding of the Flathead National Forest!

The Flathead National Forest has proposed 23 summertime commercial Special Use Permits that promote over-crowding and the disruption of wildlife!

Please send an email by May 18 to the following addresses:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 

Consider making the following points:

1. Thank you for not proposing a permit for guided motorized dirt bike tours in the wildlife rich Krause Basin area, as you did last year. We hope that, through the Krause Basin Collaboration, NEPA and travel planning processes you will ban commercial tours, motorized vehicles and mountain bikes permanently.

2. I object to all of the permits intended to provide motorized recreation as an end in itself. It is one thing to use an automobile to get to a trailhead or lake to then hike, bike or swim. Intentionally promoting motorized dirt bike, ATV, UTV, and watercraft rentals and tours does not work toward the goal of reducing greenhouse emissions. Indeed, each gallon of gasoline burned puts 20 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere! Electric vehicles also have a large carbon footprint due the energy and materials used in their production, charging and maintenance.

3. I object to the permits intended to promote trail running, bike and foot races. These displace others from the trails and promote recreation that increases the risk of surprise encounters between people and bears, which have resulted in the deaths of both. An interagency team has advised against trail running and fast mountain biking at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6ZFZLDXIGzrVERWc0ozaWxDS2M/view 

4. I am not necessarily opposed to bike tours or running events that stick to roads open to motorized vehicles, but I object to those that would utilize roads closed to protect wildlife security.

5. I support the Montana Outdoor Science Academy permit for small-group hikes in quiet, unhurried nature. These stand in stark contrast to the majority of the 23 SUPs being proposed, which instead spew forth crowds (including the Highlander 100-person “hiking event”), haste, noise, and exhaust fumes that destroy other peoples’ ability to enjoy their National Forests and the planet.

6. I ask that an Environmental Impact Statement be prepared that looks at the cumulative impacts of the Flathead's SUPs and Rental Cabins expansion program, which are pumping hordes of people into far flung corners of the Forest without adequate concern for fish, wildlife, peace, and quiet.

For more detail on these six points, see our letter here.

Click here and scroll down for the Flathead's description of the proposed SUPs and their maps "Under Analysis."

THANK YOU for taking a few moments to comment on these issues important to the health of people and wildlife!

This article published on May 10, 2022 • [Permalink]


FS Cannot Seek Consensus from Krause Basin Collaborative

The Forest Service cannot ask the Krause Basin Collaborative for group/consensus recommendations, only advice from individuals.

This is because the Forest Service is controlling the Collaborative, not the facilitator, and hence cannot ask for agreement or consensus without firstly convening a formal committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

This is to keep federal agencies from manipulating a collaborative, then turning around and claiming any consensus reached was independent of the agency. The FS's own direction on complying with FACA during collaboration states:

1. The FS "may NOT . . . Solicit consensus, agreement, or a common point of view from the public meeting that the agency manages or controls."

2. "Be clear that in public meetings controlled and managed by the agency that the goal of the meeting is to exchange facts or information and listen to opinions. Indicate that the agency cannot ask for agreement or consensus. Keep in mind that the individuals attending a meeting do not constitute a 'team'."

3. "The agency does not control or manage the contractor's [facilitator's] information, the group's membership, or sources of information except to establish by contractual terms what performance or results will fulfill the contract, including any limitations imposed by the agency. The contractor is the only point of contact with the agency."

The FS sought out particpants "commited to building consensus," assembled the Collaborative, and insists on overriding the facilitator and controlling what information it makes available to the Collaborative.

The upshot here is that the FS is refusing to acknowledge that its previous Forest Plan's Amendment 19 promised to close all of the trails in Krause Basin to motorized use and refuses to post those documents on its Krause Basin Collaborative web page. It is even refusing to post the 2017 Biological Opinion on its revised Forest Plan, which uses the same research benchmarks as Amendment 19, meaning that all trails in Krause Basin would need to be closed to motorized use to remove the ongoing harm to grizzly bears, instead promising a new Biological Opinion someday. See this email string for the details on why these documents are important to an informed plan for Krause Basin. Be sure to scroll down to get at the meat of the email string.

Now, the FS is proposing in its 2/16/22 virtual Collaborative meeting to break into small groups to determine "the 1-2 most important recreation issues in Krause Basin," in violation of FACA if the group's and not each individual's most important issues get reported.

In other words, the FS is manipulating the Collaborative to insure participants are not well informed of the FS's past promises to provide adequate wildlife security in Krause Basin and to bar discussion of those promises from the Collaborative.

That is like losing both legs in an auto acccident and having the insurance company say it would rather get a fresh start, can't pay you for your legs because you don't have any, and refuse to let you see the insurance policy that said you would be paid for the loss of your legs!

Participants should insist that their individual recommendations be recorded and respected, not morphed into specious group recommendations/consensus, and that they firstly be provided ALL of the information about the FS's past promises and management of Krause Basin.

This article published on February 13, 2022 • [Permalink]


Forest Service Reneging on Promises to Prohibit Motorized Trails in Krause Basin!

This page documents promises made by the Flathead National Forest to close all trails in Krause Basin to motorized use after designating it a Wildlife Management Area and mandating that the trails "not be marked on the ground."

These stand in stark contrast to the Flathead's efforts in its 2018 revised Forest Plan and since to instead designate Krause Basin a Focused Recreation Area, retain motorized use of the trails, mark them on the ground, and permit commercial motorcycle tours on them!

Swan View Coalition's May 12, 2021 Notice of Intent to File Suit in these matters provides a detailed description of these problems, Below are links to the 28 documents cited in the Notice of Intent (or you can click on the Document numbers in the May 12, 2021 NOI, which utilize the same links to access each Document directly). None of these are currently on the Flathead's Krause Basin Collaborative web page.

Document 01, Document 02, Document 03, Document 04, Document 05, Document 06, Document 07, Document 08, Document 09, Document 10, Document 11, Document 12, Document 13, Document 14Document 15, Document 16, Document 17, Document 18, Document 19, Document 20, Document 21, Document 22, Document 23, Document 24, Document 25, Document 26, Document 27, Document 28.

Swan View Coalition's April 4, 2018 letter outlines its management plan for Krause Basin and it is updated in SVC's Winter-Spring 2021 newsletter.

Swan View Coalition's March 2, 2021 letter and March 22, 2022 letter show the Forest Service where its maps of Krause Basin are in error regarding motor vehicle use.

This article published on December 13, 2021 • [Permalink]


Holidays Newsletter: Reflecting on 2021 and Looking Forward!

Our Holidays 2021 newsletter pays tribute to the late Brian Peck, calls for truth to restore hope, previews a guide to how forest ecosystems function, and asks for your help raising $20,000 in December!

Below is our newsletter's table of contents. Click here to view or download our newsletter as a pdf.

A big THANK YOU to those of you who have made donations that support our continuing work!

Won't you join them and make a donation today?

Fish, wildlife and people are counting on us - and you!

This article published on November 22, 2021 • [Permalink]


Judge Rules in Favor of Grizzly Bears and Bull Trout!

A federal judge has ruled in favor of grizzly bears and bull trout in our lawsuit against the 2018 revised Flathead Forest Plan!

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy cited Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ruling that federal agencies were negligent in abandoning the prior Plan's Amendment 19 road management protections for grizzly bear and bull trout, saying it is "like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."

Amendment 19's road closure and removal requirements are credited with putting threatened grizzly bears on a path toward recovery. Its requirement that culverts be removed from permanently closed roads is credited with helping protect threatened bull trout from the sediment released by inevitable culvert wash-outs. 

The revised Flathead Forest Plan abandoned these requirements, so Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan filed a lawsuit in 2019. Judge Molloy's 6/24/21 Order requires the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its abandonment of Amendment 19 and to conduct new Endangered Species Act reviews of any new road-building projects.

Our victory should also slow down federal efforts to remove ESA protection from the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem grizzly bear population, which is premised on the same abandonment of Amendment 19 road and motorized vehicle management.

Click here for our joint press release with Earthjustice.

Click here for Judge Molloy's Order.

Click here for more background on our lawsuit, first filed in 2019.

WildEarth Guardians and others also filed a lawsuit against the Flathead Forest Plan, which the court combined with ours. 

NEWS COVERAGE:

Kalispell Daily Inter Lake

Montana Public Radio

Missoulian

Reuters

Missoula Current/KPAX

This article published on November 10, 2021 • [Permalink]


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