Smarmy. MWA Embraces Sheep

Desertification is real, and irreversible.

The Montana Wilderness Association (MWA) has always thrown wildlife and native trout habitat under the bus when faced with a choice between a bigger budget and standing up to corporate enterprise.

Their latest sell-out, in alliance with other NGO sell-outs Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, Greater Yellowstone Coalition among others, is a deal with the devil — the industrial sheep business in Southwest Montana.

John Helle’s private, domestic sheep graze in prime grizzly bear, bighorn sheep (roadless, public land) habitat for 27 cents per head per month.

I have nothing against sheep, except when there are too many of them in one place, for too long. Ever been to the Middle East? Greedy men in the sheep and goat business have destroyed continents.

The story of conservationists and corporate capitalists working in harmony, side by side, whatever the industry, is a false one dependent on paid agents posing as people with a passion for nature. Their passion is for status, money and power. It’s that simple. One way to always tell the fake from the real deal is to look at the size of the budget and number of employees. Over $1 million annually pretty much guarantees nothing will get done for the land, water or wildlife. The other way to tell the shit from shinola is the media coverage. Lots of favorable, smarmy, human interest stories is a dead giveaway you’re being duped.

Mark and I have both been duped by MWA and similar ilk. If this little diatribe prevents one more honest conservation-minded person from being taken in and disappointed, it’s well worth the ink.

7 thoughts on “Smarmy. MWA Embraces Sheep

  1. When these people go south on you, they have to embrace and internalize their dishonesty. Generally they do it by characterizing their critics as extremists, which positions their sellout as a rational and reasonable stance. Since they naturally garner more media coverage, the media being a tool of power as well, it creates an isolated kind of feeling for honest men and women, almost as if there are very few of us and very many of them in the skunk camp. That is why it is important for those of us who cling to our values and stand tall as honest people to support each other. My hat, as always, is doffed to you Steve. Physical courage is common, moral courage rare.


  2. Thanks, Mark. This made-in Hollywood portrayal of ranchers and conservationists as “unlikely partners” is most irksome. Same steaming pile of horse shit with the timber industry.

    Media is all in. They need Tester’s and Daines’ and Gianforte’s campaign cash to make big profits in Montana’s tiny (under 1 million souls) market. Our corrupt pols need the cover story to do K-Street’s bidding — for campaign cash, of course. Nice little cycle, no?

    It is no secret that John Helle’s sheep are a direct and primary cause of death to unknown numbers of bighorn sheep and grizzly bears in the Gravelley Range. By some accounts Helle has gotten nearly a million dollars in Ag subsidies. Only a Cinderella story like this can get the sheep industry even more government financial support. Never enough.


  3. brings to mind my uncle’s lifelong struggle to maintain his father’s, my step-granddad’s Flagstone quarries outside of Williams, AZ. The Forest Service is so damned corrupt….no animals injured or endangered, but corruption is corruption!! Thanks, Steve!!


  4. Mark thank you for sharing something I always hoped I would hear but up until just now never came close to hearing it all the while my never knowing how I could explain to someone what you just said is something I always hoped I would hear prior to you ever saying 100% all of it until just now. You are either ahead of your time or a lost art or both. And no this isn’t the first time you have come through for me without you even knowing it and exactly this way. I know I make myself vulnerable just by virtue of educating myself about things I want to know the most about because of its nature to further the Great Lonely Divide between oneself and the mainstream masses not to mention most people I know will gladly pitch in for my straitjacket if I dared pushed the issue where they actually had to think. But that sting or twinge of loneliness and straight jackets goes away quickly which I like because it tells me I’m where I need to be.


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