Opinion: Tester logging bill proposes a calamitous precedent

Key player in passage of the ’64 Wilderness Act blast Tester’s Wilderness/logging bill-

This is an opinion in the Billings Gazette by Stewart Brandborg who was executive director of the Wilderness Society when the Wilderness Act became law.

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My take on Tester’s bill is that is very much the stuff ex-Idaho senator Larry Craig was always pushing — mandated levels of logging completely unrelated to the conditions of the market. One big difference in favor of Tester is he does designate some Wilderness.

Craig simply pushed artificial levels of logging. I used to call them Craig’s Soviet forestry because of their similarity to the way production goals were set in the former Communist Soviet Union.

Brandborg fills out the whole rooster of violations of past law and public oversight embodied in the Tester Bill.

Guest opinion: Tester logging bill proposes a calamitous precedent.  By Stewart M. Brandborg. Billings Gazette.|

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More recent opinion on Tester bill.

USFS Retiree [Bill Worf] on Tester Bill: Gutting the USFS is not the Solution. Unfiltered in New West. By Matthew Koehler,

The battle over Mt. Jefferson in Tester’s Wilderness bill

Continuing fight by Idaho snowmobile interests to keep a small area in Montana out of Senator’s Tester’s Wilderness bill-

We have covered this battle before. Dec. 13, 2009. Idaho Senators try to pressure Tester to remove an area from his “wilderness bill”

Photo of Mt. Jefferson from the Montana side. It is the highest mountain in the Centennial Range. Photo of Lilian Lake at the top of Hellroaring Creek.

Mount Jefferson access rises to forefront of forest bill controversy. By Ben Pierce. Bozeman Chronicle “Out There” Editor

From the standpoint of wildlife, the Centennial Mountains have long been know for terrific elk hunting. They are also a key corridor of wildlife migration from the Greater Yellowstone area to central Idaho. The biggest problem is the Sheep Experiment Station, but very high snowmobile use causes damage too. See photo of how busy it is at high elevation.

Senator Tester Betrays Montana Wilderness

Brian Peck Excoriates Senator Tester’s “Wilderness” Bill And The “Environmental” Groups Who Support It.

He explains that the “bill would set aside just over 600,000 acres of Wilderness, withdraw current protection from nearly 250,000 acres, and require that 100,000 acres be made available for logging and roading in an already fractured landscape.”

Senator Tester Betrays Montana Wilderness
By Brian Peck, New West Unfiltered 11-03-09

Rocky Mountain Front, wildlife, and other projects get funded in Montana in Interior Appropriations Bill

Bill includes funding to reimburse for wolf kills, but may also contain money for proactive measures-

From what I’ve read, this sounds pretty good to me for wildlife and outdoors in Montana. Great Falls Tribune.

Bill Schneider: What Tester’s Forest Bill Really Does

Bill Schneider gives it a detailed analysis-

I won’t go over the details because Schneider seems to do a good job, but my general impression is that there is no reason for Montana conservationists to support this, even though it is not immediately clear whether the “stewardship” elements are good, bad or neutral.

What Tester’s Forest Bill Really Does. “Montana Sen. Jon Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act attempts to cover a lot of ground and address a lot of issues, but will it be enough to win passage?” New West.

I don’t see any Wilderness designation in this bill that is a wow! This is great . . . something that would offset the other provisions.

I haven’t been to some of these areas, but I have to the southwest Montana ones. These have one thing in common and wrong — they are all abused by livestock.

The provision grandfathering livestock grazing in designated Wilderness area was absolutely necessarily in 1964 to get the Wilderness Act passed, and in many of the early Wilderness areas, livestock grazing was not a big issue because it was a minor use generally affecting just a small part of the total area.

In recent years, however, areas have  been proposed for Wilderness designation where livestock effects are seen and felt on almost every acre. Yes, these areas are roadless, with little previous logging activity, and no permanent structures,  but to call them places where the effects of humans are not lasting or very evident is a bad joke.

This  bill continues in this bad tradition and grandfathers this use.

I’ve always been a strong supporter of Wilderness areas, but I refuse to support any more cow or sheep wilderness areas. It’s a joke, and just like depredation payments to livestock operators for losses to predators, this doesn’t win their support. They always opposed Wilderness and they always will no matter who low you bow before their majesty.

I’d rather have a clear trout stream with a road along side it, than some cowshit filled mud wallow you reach after a steep hike of 5 miles.

Why give up anything to win a pile of dust? Let’s kill this sucker!