View of Swan Range
History of the Swan View Coalition
Wayne Hammer photo
Wayne Hammer's seat-of-the-pants panorama that helped defeat the Noisy Face Timber Sale in 1984.

Since 1984, Swan View Coalition has relied on several key principles for managing public lands and wildlife: 1) threatened and endangered species can only be recovered by protecting their habitat and minimizing mortality 2) efforts to recover one species helps recover others, and 3) what is good for fish and wildlife is also good for people. These principles are the connective tissue for the skeleton view of our accomplishments provided in the following chronology:

1984: Swan Range residents formed the nonprofit Swan View Coalition to oppose Flathead National Forest's Noisy Face Timber Sale and motorized abuse of the area.

1985: Stopped permanently the Noisy Face Timber Sale, which would have carved up to 30 miles of new logging road and twelve unsightly 20-acre clear-cuts on the Swan Face between Lake Blaine and Ferndale.

1986: Secured upgraded designation of Swan Range and Swan Valley grizzly bear habitat to highest-priority Management Situation One (MS-1) in the Flathead Forest Plan.

1987: Lawsuit secured closure of 3,500 acres of MS-1 springtime grizzly bear habitat in the Krause Basin area to motorized vehicles from April 1 - July 1 pending completion of the Flathead's Noisy Face Recreation Plan.

1988: Secured spring and fall closure to motorized vehicles of MS-1 grizzly bear and elk habitat in Krause Basin from April 1 - July 1 and September 1 - November 1 in the Noisy Face Recreation Plan. The Plan also forbids traditional motorcycle races in the area, closes scores of unauthorized ATV trails and abandoned roads to motorized vehicles, and closes to motorized vehicles Echo Broken Leg, Crater Notch and several other trails leading to Jewel Basin Hiking Area. SVC inventoried and photographed 400 abandoned Forest Service roads in the Swan Valley and got them physically closed to motorized vehicles.

1989: Filed lawsuit against the Flathead Forest Plan because planning records revealed the Flathead cannot produce the promised 100 million board feet per year (MMBF/yr) of timber while complying with its grizzly bear management standards.

1991: Filed lawsuit because existing road densities on the Flathead National Forest harm grizzly bears in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Secured District Court injunction in a separate lawsuit against the hunting of threatened grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem because it was causing half of the known human-caused mortality. Fish and Wildlife Service then withdrew the hunt permanently.

1993: Filed lawsuit against the Lost Silver Timber Sale in the northern Swan Range because the area's South Fork Grizzly Bear Study shows road density standards more stringent than those in the 1986 Flathead Forest Plan are necessary. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the 1989 lawsuit, ordering the Flathead National Forest to amend its Forest Plan after finding its 100 MMBF/yr Allowable Timber Sale Quantity arbitrary and incompatible with its grizzly bear standards.

1995: Flathead Forest Plan Amendment 19 is issued in response to the 1993 Ninth Circuit ruling and to simultaneously resolve the 1993 Lost Silver and 1991 road density lawsuits. Amendment 19 lowers the 100 MMBF/yr Allowable Timber Sale Quantity by 10 MMBF/yr to better protect grizzly bear and by another 36 MMBF/yr to better protect big game and old-growth forest habitats - to 54 MMBF/yr. It also requires strict limits on total road density and open road density be met in all grizzly bear habitat by 2005, requiring road decommissioning and culvert removal to reduce total road density and protect watersheds. This replaces the Flathead's intent to construct 75 miles of new logging roads each year, until its 4,000 miles of road reached 6,000 miles, with a road removal program and greater protection of roadless areas.

1996: Hired consultants to train Flathead National Forest in state-of-the-art road decommissioning techniques that best protect and restore water quality.

1999: Secured court order physically obliterating an unauthorized snowmobile trail illegally cut through Krause Basin and used to trespass illegally in Jewel Basin.

2003: Filed lawsuit against Moose Post-Fire Project, which would leave ten culverts in otherwise decommissioned roads to facilitate snowmobiling and reopen an already closed road, both in violation of Amendment 19 and other grizzly bear standards.

2004: Secured court order removing a snowmobile bridge installed over Lost Johnny Creek used to extend the snowmobile season and trespass illegally in Jewel Basin.

2005: Filed lawsuit against the Robert-Wedge and West Side Reservoir Post-Fire Projects for their failure to schedule the closure and decommissioning of enough roads and motorized trails to meet Amendment 19 standards. Flathead announces it is far behind fully implementing Amendment 19 standards by 2005 and asks Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for a relaxed time line.

2006: Filed lawsuit against the tardy implementation of Amendment 19 and the failure of FWS to provide a new firm time line to complete its implementation. Filed lawsuit against Flathead Forest Plan Amendment 24, which allows snowmobiling in grizzly bear habitat as late as May 31 in violation of Amendment 19's closure of the snowmobile season on March 15, when bears begin emerging from their winter dens but females with young cannot yet flee.

2009: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals faults the Moose Post-Fire Project, ruling the Flathead indeed must comply with its Forest Plan and Interagency Grizzly Bear Guidelines requirement that agency decisions must "favor the bear" when its needs compete with snowmobiles, ATVs, roads, etc.. Flathead has since 1995 decommissioned 720 miles of damaging roads, made decisions to decommission another 160 miles, and is required to continue planning decommissioning in areas of grizzly habitat that remain substandard.

2011: Stopped the spraying of 50,000 gallons of deadly pesticide on old-growth forests in the Swan Valley and convinced the Forest Service to instead use the harmless, pheromone-based verbenone to deter mountain pine beetles. You can read more about this pesticide issue in our Winter-Spring 2011 newsletter!

This article published on July 21, 2011 • [Permalink]


Logging Road Landslide
Logging road landslide into Sullivan Creek bull trout habitat! Keith Hammer photo.

What's New
Join Us for Our 40th Anniversary Potluck and Gathering! May 21, 2024

We hope you can come join us for our 40th Anniversary potluck and gathering on June 9 at the Creston Fish Hatchery pavilion on the shore of Jessup Mill Pond! There will be cake and we get to eat it too!

Winter-Spring Newsletter: Swan View Celebrates 40 Years! April 24, 2024

Our Winter-Spring newsletter celebrates our 40th anniversary with news of recent victories, a look at what we've accomplished in 40 years, a reminder of the work that still lies ahead, and an invitation to our celebratory outdoor potluck and gathering on June 9!

Happy Solstice, Holidays and New Year! December 20, 2023

Swan View Coalition wishes you a Happy Solstice, Holidays and New Year, and has a gift suggestion!

Holidays Newsletter: Things to Celebrate in 2023! December 07, 2023

Our Holidays newsletter announces wolverine are finally given ESA protection, an ESA recovery plan is drafted for lynx, there are promising signs for the management of Krause Basin, and POWDR Corp has withdrawn its plans to super-size Holland Lake Lodge, but reminds us of huge "fuels reduction" logging projects on the horizon!

Summer-Fall Newsletter: Pushing Back Against All Odds! October 12, 2023

Our Summer-Fall newsletter announces the release of our latest Forest Service road closure effectiveness report, describes how the Forest Service is keeping the public in the dark while permitting private corporations to conduct business on public lands, provides graphic proof that "thinning" as "restoration" logging amounts to more clearcuts, and calls on the public to carry and learn to use bear spray when outdoors!

Swan View Report Shows Road Closure Effectiveness Far Lower than Forest Service Claims! September 12, 2023

Swan View Coalition recently released a report based on its 2022 inspection of 303 Forest Service road closure devices in the Flathead National Forest’s Swan Valley Geographic Area. The group found only 53% of the gates, berms and boulders showed no signs of motor vehicle use behind them. When adjusted to account for Forest Service exceptions allowing administrative and logging contractor use behind closures, effectiveness rose to only 68%, far short of the 92% effectiveness claimed by the Flathead NF for 2019-2020.

Your Prompt Donation Matched by Cinnabar Foundation! August 02, 2023

Your prompt donation to support our work will be matched/doubled by Cinnabar Foundation!

Help Push Back on the Commercialization of the Flathead National Forest! May 23, 2023

Your email is needed today to push back on 25 commercial Special Use Permits being issued on the Flathead National Forest!

Winter Spring Newsletter: Government and Industry Set to Log it All! April 17, 2023

Our Winter-Spring newsletter asks you to send a quick email to help stop DNRC from logging the last of its hemlock forests in Krause Basin, then shows how DNRC's proposal aligns with federal proposals that also promote logging to "restore" forests to false "historic" conditions. We provide links to a growing body of research revealing a "falsification of the scientific record in government-funded wildfire studies" that are being used to promote the logging of native forests.

Help Stop DNRC Logging in Krause Basin Today! April 12, 2023

MT DNRC intends to log more of what little native hemlock forest it hasn't logged already in Krause Basin! Please help us stop this phony "forest restoration" now!

Double Your Donation Now! March 23, 2023

Wake up! A generous donor has agreed to match $5,000 in donations to Swan View Coalition! So DONATE NOW and see your donation doubled!

Holidays Newsletter: Learning from Our Past and Moving Forward! November 30, 2022

Our Holidays 2022 newsletter looks at how recreation gets out of control on public lands and what we can do about it. It also provides a brief summary of our work in 2022 and why your membership is important!

Giving Thanks! November 23, 2022

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

Summer-Fall Newsletter: Plunder Blunders! October 17, 2022

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.

Insist Now on Full Public Review of Holland Lake Lodge Mega-Expansion! September 06, 2022

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

Second Round of Flathead Forest Plan Lawsuits Filed! August 11, 2022

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!

Winter-Spring Newsletter: To Wonder or Plunder? May 13, 2022

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!

Help Stop Commercial Crowding of the Flathead National Forest! May 10, 2022

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

FS Cannot Seek Consensus from Krause Basin Collaborative February 13, 2022

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

Forest Service Reneging on Promises to Prohibit Motorized Trails in Krause Basin! December 13, 2021

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."