Tester bill opposed by group of former MWA officers and council members

Splitting from the Montana Wilderness Association, they issue statement against the wilderness and logging bill-

Update 2-18. Tester’s Bill Causing Major Rift Among Wilderness Advocates. Former Montana Wilderness Association Council Members Bolt. By Bill Schneider. New West.

Earlier ↓

As folks probably know, the Montana Wilderness Association supports Senator Tester’s Jobs and Recreation Act of 2009, which establishes new designated Wilderness areas in Montana, mandates acreages of timber to be logged (not volumes of it), and misc. provisions.

It seems there is a split by many former officers and council members with the current organization. I was emailed their statement.
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WILDERNESS LOST

We, the undersigned former council members and officers of the Montana Wilderness Association, respectfully urge Senator Tester to modify the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act of 2009 to rectify the problems outlined by the Undersecretary of Agriculture as well as the Last Best Chance Wildlands Campaign. We cannot support the legislation as now written. We diverge from MWA here because we believe that the bill degrades both the quantity and quality of some of America’s most cherished wildlands in Montana. We encourage consideration of the issues we have outlined below that would be necessary in order for us to support it.

We endorse the 10-point position paper, Keeping It Wild! In Defense of America’s Public Wildlands, which has been submitted by the Last Best Place Wildlands Campaign, available at: http://testerloggingbilltruths.wordpress.com/.

The bill legislates the net loss of hundreds of thousands of roadless area acres, including S-393 Wilderness Study Areas designated in 1977 by the late Senator Lee Metcalf. This will create widespread environmental damage and the loss of an irreplaceable legacy for which future generations will, quite correctly, hold ours accountable. Also, the bills’ Congressional mandate for timber cut levels sets a dangerous precedent. Resulting below-cost timber sales will cost taxpayers over $100 million. And proposed new Wilderness Areas are medium, often disjointed, primarily “rock and ice” parcels that would fail to protect fragile wildland and wildlife ecosystems and corridors.

To make matters worse, the bill includes special provisions for new “Wilderness” units that defy both the intent and letter of the Wilderness Act, and the spirit of Wilderness that so many Americans believe is a vital and wondrous part of this great nation’s heritage. Motor Vehicles, including helicopters, simply have no place in designated Wilderness. Yes, we need more Wilderness – lots of it – but we want it to be real Wilderness!

The bill also codifies secretive negotiated agreements – such as the Beaverhead-Deerlodge – that excluded many individuals and groups who’ve long been involved in the public process. This, and similar agreements, have been sealed by MWA and others over the objections of excluded organizations and individuals, of whom most live and work close to the land and know the compromised areas intimately.

It is with a heavy heart that we are compelled to oppose the organization that we once served as Council members and officers. Most of Montana’s undeveloped wilds are long gone, and we cannot afford to lose big chunks of what remains. We believe that in recent years, the Montana Wilderness Association [MWA] has clearly compromised its long-held wildland protection mission and vigilant advocacy. We know many current and former MWA members who agree. In fact, many conservationists in the region are convinced that, quite simply, MWA has lost its way. We are among those people.

In summary, this bill will irreparably damage Montana’s dwindling public wildland legacy. It will salt the gaping social wounds created by MWA’s recent actions. It degrades the Wilderness Act of 1964 with provisions that damage both Wilderness and the Wilderness Idea. And it’s a bad deal for future generations of Montanans who will need wild country more than ever in an increasingly crowded and uncertain future.

Lou Bruno (past president) – East Glacier
Joan Montagne (past president) – Bozeman
Elaine Snyder (past president) – Kalispell
Loren Kreck (past vice-president) – Columbia Falls
Larry Campbell – Darby
Susan Colvin – Great Falls
Paul Edwards – Helena
Randall Gloege – Billings
Keith Hammer – Kalispell
Steve Kelly – Bozeman
Bob Oset – Hamilton
Paul Richards – Boulder
Ross Titus – Big Fork
George Wuerthner – Helena
Janet Zimmerman – Pony
Lance Olsen – Missoula

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Larry Campbell, 406-821-3110, lcampbell@bitterroot.net

Yellowstone Wolf Numbers Drop for Second Year

Park now has only 55% as many wolves as at the peak population-

I predicted this, and the same thing was happening to the wolf population of Idaho and Montana. Without any intervention they would have peaked and dropped. With the big campaign against them in Idaho and Montana, we will never know.  At any rate,  growth of the wolf population has now stopped in all three states.

Yellowstone Wolf Numbers Drop for Second Year. By Yellowstone National Park, via New West.

British Columbia industrial development ban ends 36-year dispute over Flathead

Controversy began 1n 1974-

Well what a cause for celebration this is!  I can remember I was just starting to explore the wild country as a young man back in 1974 when Sage Creek Coal proposed a big coal mine on Cabin Creek, a tributary to the North Fork of the Flathead.  In 2008 I was standing in this incredible place and pondering how awful the giant coal pit and adjacent coalbed methane wells would be.  I never suspected the B.C. government would side with conservation on this.

B.C’s ban on industrial development in N. Fork Flathead ends a 36-year international struggle. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian.

Just one bison was killed in Montana’s bison hunt

State hunt relies solely on bison migration from Yellowstone Park. Few migrated-

Single bison shot in state’s winter hunt. By  Matthew Brown. Associated Press |

Now, however, Montana’s Department of Livetock is completely out of control and wants to kill any bison that leave the Park even in cattle free areas, in violation of the new tolerance by the Park Service and the Forest Service.

Brown writes:

“Now that the three-month hunt has ended, animals leaving the park will be subject to hazing, capture and possibly slaughter under a program meant to prevent the spread of animal disease to cattle.
And, after being criticized by ranchers last year for what they saw as a migration that got out of control, state livestock officials are planning a more aggressive response this year.
Montana state veterinarian Marty Zaluski said that ‘proactive’ plan will apply even in areas where cattle aren’t present, starting immediately.” [emphasis added]

I can’t see how the Dept. of Livestock is allowed to do this — violate the public lands of the American people and the private property rights of Montanans. As I have said many times before, the only rational explanation of the DOL is it is the agency that shows who really rules over the people and land of the area.