Giving Thanks!

This Thanksgiving we are thankful to have public lands worth protecting and your support of our work to do so!

It is your kind words and your monetary donations that have kept us at the forefront of public lands conservation since 1984!

Thank you for your support and may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

This article published on November 23, 2022 • [Permalink]

Summer-Fall Newsletter: Plunder Blunders!

Our Summer-Fall 2022 newsletter examines two major public relations blunders by the Flathead National Forest as it attempts to force recreational development on a public that is tired of seeing its public lands turned into playgrounds for the rich and racy! We also announce the resumption of our biweekly Swan Range Community Potlucks and Music Jam Sessions - and our Annual Membership Meeting to be held November 20.

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 October 17, 2022 • [Permalink]

Insist Now on Full Public Review of Holland Lake Lodge Mega-Expansion!

The Flathead National Forest is attempting to approve a mega-expansion of the Holland Lake Lodge facilities on public land without informed public input and with no Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement. Tell the Flathead NOW to back up and start again!

--- UPDATE 11/23/22: According to the Missoulian, the Flathead has sent POWDR Corp. back to the drawing board to fix its Master Development Plan, but POWDR intends to resubmit its MDP largely unchanged and the Flathead has not rescinded the current Special Use Permit - which says on its face that it can't be transferred to POWDR.

--- UPDATE 10/15/22: According to the Daily Montanan, the Flathead received over 6,500 public comments, with 99% of them opposed to the mega-expansion! Stay tuned, the Flathead has not given up on this illconceived idea!

--- UPDATE 9/15/22: The public comment period has been extended to October 7, but it is still important to ask for a full 60-day comment period and make the other points listed below or in our latest comment letter.

Here is a good article about how public comment is running so far and you can see for yourself at where there are currently over 2,000 comments, mostly against this mega-expansion! The Flathead is also holding another public meeting, this time at the Seeley Lake Elementary School on Tuesday, October 4, from 5:30 - 7:30pm; or you can join the meeting online ---

The new development will be managed by the Lodge's joint venture partner POWDR, "an adventure lifestyle company" based in Park City, Utah, and owner of Park City Mountain Resort. The mega-development would be allowed under a Special Use Permit for 15 acres of public land, will dwarf the historic lodge and will destroy the rustic natural character of Holland Lake and the upper Swan Valley! New constructed facilities would include:

1. Bob Marshall Lodge (28 rooms, two-story, 13,000 square feet)

2. 10 lake cabins (650 square feet each)

3. 16 smaller studio cabins (250 square feet each)

4. New Welcome Center (2,000 square feet, single-story building) for check in and retail

5. The Mission Mountains Restaurant (3,000 square feet) would be constructed adjacent to the Old Lodge, separated by a breezeway. The proposed Mission Mountains Restaurant would have indoor seating capacity for 100 guests. Outdoor seating would also be available for an additional 30 guests when the weather allows for it. The new kitchen will be designed to serve three times as many meals as the current kitchen.

6. Small watersport building (400 square feet)

7. New support buildings which would include a maintenance building (2,000 square feet) and employee housing (2,000 square feet)

This mega-expansion was announced September 1, right before Labor Day weekend, but the Forest Service wants public comments by September 21! Please insist on adequate time for public review and on adequate environmental review via the Flathead's electronic comment form at . If that form does not work for you, then send an email directly to Project Leader Michele Mavor at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .

Here are some points you might want to make:

1. The Holland Lake Lodge Master Development Plan was not made publicly available on the Flathead's web site until September 6. The public needs plenty of time to review this 36-page document and the Forest Service's 16-page "scoping" document.

2. The scoping document is dead wrong to presume this mega-development can be "categorically excluded" from the prior preparation of an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement. Such shortcuts are intended for constructing an outhouse or a tool shed, not a destination resort!

3. Before Big Mountain was allowed to expand its ski area in 1995, the Flathead rightly prepared an Environmental Impact Statement on whether it should be allowed under that ski area Special Use Permit.

4. Before the Flathead allowed the Big Mountain ski area to expand ski lift facilities in Hellroaring Basin in 2019, it prepared an Environmental Assessment to be certain it should be allowed under the Special Use Permit.

5. The Flathead must provide 60 days for public comments on these Holland Lake "scoping" documents and then prepare an Environmental Impact Statement that fully assesses the potential impacts of this mega-development on this historic, rustic area and its natural ecosystems.

The Flathead is holding a public information meeting at the Holland Lake Lodge grounds from 5 - 7pm on Thursday, September 8th.

The Flathead's Holland Lake Lodge Facility Expansion Project documents can be viewed and downloaded at .

You can read our initial comment letter here and our more detailed comment letter here.

THANK YOU for taking a few moments to insure there is adaquate public involvement and environmental review of this proposed mega-expansion!

This article published on September 06, 2022 • [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 initial 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 its 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: 

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]

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