Your comments are needed NOW to help stop a 700-person trail-running event and help shape commercial guiding on the Flathead National Forest!
The Flathead has requested public comment on 12 Special Use Permits it is proposing for recreational events, shuttles and guiding services this summer.
Among them is Whitefish Legacy Partners' request for a permit to again run its trail-running race from Whitefish to the top of Big Mountain and back, but this time with up to 400 runners and an additional 300 spectators and volunteers! (These numbers provided by the Forest Service are inconsistent with WLP's permit application).
Foys to Blacktail Trails appears to be repeating the 100-trail-runner-maximum race it held last year, when retired FWS Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator Chris Servheen wrote in opposition to these risky foot races in bear habitat.
UPDATE JULY 11, 2020: A trail-runner physically collided with a grizzly bear in Glacier National Park, but was lucky to escape with minor injuries as the forgiving bear ran off. This should not become a huge spectator sport via Forest Service special use permits!
Also among the slew of SUPs are requests for guided tours for ATVs, hikers and bikers, as well as shuttle services - in critical wildlife habitats and some on roads closed to protect wildlife security!
Here are some suggestions for your comments, which must be submitted by May 1:
1. Do not permit trail-running races due to the documented increased risk to people, bears and other wildlife. It also sends the wrong message about how people should safely recreate in the habitat of bears and mountain lions.
2. Do permit slow-paced hiking and biking activities that help people get heart-healthy exercise while teaching responsible conduct in the habitat of bears and mountain lions.
3. Do not permit ATV tours, van tours and other motorized events that burn fossil fuels and hasten climate change in the name of recreation.
4. Do not permit commercially guided hiking and biking tours on roads closed to motorized use to provide wildlife security. These roads already receive non-commercial human use. Additional commercial use will result in even less wildlife security.
5. Do not permit large group tours and events where COVID-19 social distancing requirements cannot be met. Montana is currently among the least infected states in the country and we'd like to keep it that way.
Please send your comments by May 1 to all three of the following Ranger District addresses:
Click here to read our 4-page letter to the Flathead.
Click here for our single page of additional concerns after seeing the permit applications.
Click here for the Flathead's brief description of the proposed permits.
THANK YOU for taking a moment to comment on these issues important to the health of people and wildlife!
Click here for the Daily Inter Lake news article.
Click here for the Hungry Horse News article.
Click here for two critical letters to editors: 1. Robert Hermes led and largely funded the establishment of the Lakeside to Blacktail Trail and, though a long-distance runner himself, says "trails in the national forest are just not the right venue" for marathon races; 2. Carol Edwards, a resident of Polebridge, lays out how the public has been given "short shrift and silenced before they ever got a chance to speak" on these permit issues.
Click here for a Hungry Horse News column opposing the SUPs and process.
Click here for a Missoulian article about Forest Service directives to issue more special use permits more quickly to "be more responsible to customer needs."
Scroll down to view the maps and supplemental information we've been able to obtain from the Forest Service thus far. (You may need to click on "Read Full Article" to make them appear).
Click here for the Action Rentals map.
Click here for the Adventure Cycling maps.
Click here for the Cycling House maps.
Click here for the Foys to Blacktail map.
Click here for the Journey to Wellness maps.
Click here for the Kiwanis Club map.
Click here for the NW Adventures map.
Click here for the Powdered Soul map.
Click here for the Spotted Dog maps.
Click here for the Whitefish Bike Retreat map.
Click here for the Whitefish Shuttle maps.
Click here for the Whitefish Legacy Partnership map.
Click here for the Flathead NF's supplemental permit descriptions.
Click here for Adventure Cycling's Region 1 tour itinerary.
Click here for Adventure Cycling's Region 1 tour maps.
Click here for Cycling House's tour itinerary.
Click here for Spotted Dog's tour itinerary.
Click here for the Spotted Dog activity description.
Special Use Permit Applications (partially redacted by USFS):
Click here for the Action Rentals application.
There is no 2020 Adventure Cycling application.
Click here for the Cycling House application.
Click here for the Foys to Blacktail application.
There is no 2020 Journey to Wellness application.
Click here for the Kiwanis Club application.
Click here for the NW Adventures application.
Click here for the Powdered Soul application.
Click here for the Spotted Dog application.
Click here for the Whitefish Bike Retreat application.
Click here for the Whitefish Shuttle application.
Click here for the Whitefish Legacy Partnership application.