Grassroots environmental groups from across the country have issued a letter to the U.S. Senate demanding the removal of damaging public land give-away “riders” attached to the must-pass Defense Authorization Bill!
The “rider” package has far too many give-aways of public lands and resources to merit support for its very meager designations of Wilderness.
Yes, the North Fork Flathead River and Rocky Mountain Front deserve protection from oil, gas and minerals mining - but not at the expense of removing protection from Wilderness Study Areas in eastern Montana near Otter Creek and the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge to benefit the coal, oil and gas industries!
Nor should these bills be packaged in the dead of night with provisions to give 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest to Sealaska Corporation for logging, nor granting National Forest land in Arizona to a foreign-owned mining company, among other horrible provisions!
Please take a quick minute TODAY to phone Senator Harry Reid (202-224-3542) and the Senators from your state (find phone numbers here).
Simply tell them you oppose the inclusion of public land provisions in the Defense Bill and want them removed!
Take action today before the Senate acts tomorrow!
Swan View Coalition is among the 47 organizations that signed the letter to the Senate, which you can read here.
Click here to read Montana Environmental Information Center’s assessment of the rider’s impact to eastern Montana.
Click here to read the Missoulian article about the late-night horse-trading by which Montana Senators Tester and Walsh, along with Representative Daines, made even more 11th-hour compromises to the already heavily compromised Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act - with no pubic hearings whatsoever.
Click here to read more details about the “Cost of Compromise” in the Missoula Independent!
Click here to read the 449-page Defense Bill public lands rider!
Make no mistake, these types of public land give-aways will become the norm by which big Wilderness groups get a little bit of Wilderness without telling you the true and unacceptable costs - unless you put a stop to it!
UPDATE: In a related matter, click here for a PDF summary of Keith Hammer’s 9/12/14 presentation to the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center’s Wilderness 50 Conference.
Today we mark the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, but mark your calendars for September 20 and join us in a big celebration of it at the Flathead County Fairgrounds!
Come meet and be encouraged by Stewart Brandborg (above), who worked for eight years alongside Howard Zahniser to pass the Wilderness Act on September 3, 1964!
This foresighted Act initially designated 9.1 million acres of public lands as Wilderness, including the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and in the hands of hard working citizens has since brought the total to nearly 110 million acres.
But many of America’s wildest public lands remain at risk of development and the “expanding settlement and growing mechanization” foreseen by the Wilderness Act.
We look forward to Brandborg’s words urging all of us to keep up the good fight!
Click here for our short biography of Stewart Brandborg.
Click here for the Missoulian’s more detailed accounting of Brandborg’s efforts to pass the Wilderness Act.
Click here or see below for the Flathead’s Wilderness 50 Celebration agenda!
Your email to the Flathead National Forest will help stop more of these logging road landslides from trashing fish and wildlife habitat!
The Flathead already has 2,000 miles of roads like this one in Sullivan Creek demoted to Maintenance Level 1 Basic Custodial Care, where they don’t receive the care needed to keep their ditches and culverts from plugging and then washing the roads into your trout streams!
(Another 1,400 miles are open to public motor vehicle use and have their own costly maintenance issues).
The Flathead is accepting public comments on its draft Travel Analysis Report, which would simply abandon even more old logging roads rather than carefully decommission them to remove culverts and sediment source problems.
Click here to visit the Flathead’s Travel Analysis Report web page.
Click here to read our comments on the Travel Analysis Report.
Click here to read our additional comments on the Travel Analysis Report, made in light of our discovery of slumps in the Sullivan and Quintonkin Creek roads.
Click here to read the Hungry Horse News Article about our discovery of the recent Sullivan Creek landslide.
Click here to read our press release about the Sullivan Creek landslide.
Click here for our letter to state and federal agencies urging that all old logging roads in Sullivan Creek be decommissioned.
Click here to read the Flathead’s “Assessment of the Sullivan Creek Mass Failure,” which claims it was nature’s fault.
Click here to read our response to the Flathead’s “Assessment of the Sullivan Creek Mass Failure.”
Click here to read the Flathead Beacon’s article about the Flathead National Forest still insisting it is an innocent bystander and intends to ignore this road as it continues to collapse, rather than promptly fixing more potential problems further up the road!
Click here to see our video of the Sullivan Creek landslide.
Swan View Coalition and its president, Keith Hammer, were recently featured in the Flathead Beacon!
Did you know Keith Hammer is a former logger and Forest Service employee (as are other members of the board of directors)?
The Hungry Horse News has reported on our contention that areas to be logged on the Flathead National Forest should not be nearly doubled in trade for a bit of recommended wilderness!
F.H. Stoltze Lumber Company, a Whitefish Range partner, sued the Flathead in 1976 when it tried to decrease its suitable timber base to better protect water quality and because “taxpayers couldn’t afford road building costs necessary to cut old growth” that extensively! And now it has partners Montana Wilderness Association and Headwaters Montana saying “all parts of the [Whitefish Range Partnership] Agreement must move forward together,” which is otherwise known as horse trading!
Fish, wildlife and people cannot afford to have the Flathead’s suitable timber base inflated once again and they need more than a handful of roadless lands protected as wilderness!
When Backpacker Magazine called wanting to promote Alpine Trail #7 along the Swan Crest, we were hesitant to help because more human use is not always a good thing. We insisted that the article also promote designation of the Swan Crest as Wilderness in order to counterbalance Backpacker’s promotion of the area. The writer agreed.
Other than misquoting our “little used” description of Alpine 7 south of Thunderbolt Mountain, instead calling it “underused,” Backpacker did a good job and we appreciate the focus on securing Wilderness protection for this delicate alpine area. When it comes to protecting quiet, peaceful habitat for fish, wildlife and people there is no such thing as “underused.”
Your help is doubly important because Montana Wilderness Association and some others are not advocating Wilderness protection for all roadless lands, instead allowing snowmobiles in vast roadless areas, especially along the Swan Crest!
Thank you for taking a short moment to help protect the Swan Range!
“Many foresters have long assumed that trees gradually lose their vigour as they mature, but a new analysis suggests that the larger a tree gets, the more kilos of carbon it puts on each year.”
This new study reported in the journal Nature helps counter the Forest Service and industry argument that logging native and old forests will help sequester more carbon in the younger vegetation and help reduce global warming.
Even more work remains to be done, however, to convince the Forest Service and industry to leave dead trees in the forest to continue sequestering and recycling carbon. The Department of Agriculture recently awarded a $10 million grant to five universities and Northern Rockies research stations to figure out how to turn dead trees into biofuels. Read the Missoulian article here and our response to it here.
It is time to work with nature, not against it!
The Flathead National Forest has front-loaded its Forest Plan Revision process to reduce wildlife security while increasing motorized access and logging, playing favorites of folks willing to go along with it!
After telling its newly convened Forest Planning collaborative to use its draft 2006 Plan revision as a starting point, the Flathead has now instead distributed a Modified 2006 revision to the collaborative.
The modifications most importantly would:
1. Abandon Forest Plan Amendment 19 and its securing of grizzly bear habitat through limits on roads and motorized vehicles.
2. Greatly expand the “suitable timber base” where commercial logging is scheduled, partly by logging in areas previously set aside as grizzly bear “security core” under Amendment 19.
3. Retain and expand already extensive snowmobile areas established by Forest Plan Amendment 24, while not proposing to reduce snowmobile areas to protect grizzly bear denning, wolverine and lynx.
To make matters worse, the Flathead is playing favorites to the Whitefish Range Partnership collaborative, which has already largely agreed with the Flathead’s modifications for the North Fork Flathead.
Click here or below to read our letter to local newspaper editors, which includes links to a couple news articles demonstrating the Flathead’s unacceptable favoritism and skewing of the Forest Planning process.
We’re working hard to insure your voice can be heard during the Flathead Forest Plan revision process and will advise you of specific points when your comments will be most useful.
Meanwhile you can track or join the revision process at the Flathead National Forest’s web site and at Meridian Institute, the contractor the Flathead has hired to attempt to sidestep certain requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (the Forest Service cannot ask for collective advice during meetings that it controls, so it hires a contractor to control the meetings).