A couple of weeks ago, a woman who lives just south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and gets her drinking water from a well adjacent to Game Creek contacted the Alliance for the Wild Rockies with a problem. She recently discovered that the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish had officially approved a project to dump rotenone – a poison – into Game Creek on Aug. 20 to kill off non-native brook trout and reintroduce native Snake River cutthroat trout.
Rotenone not only kills brook trout, but anything and everything with gills, including aquatic insects and amphibians. The poison could also migrate into the groundwater that feeds nearby well systems. Scientists caution that rotenone is harmful to human health.
Once in a great while, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, a grassroots forest-protection group focused on protecting native fish and wildlife habitat and ecosystem integrity, scores a victory for the voiceless in Idaho’s great North wildlands. Yesterday, a federal district court judge suspended a large U.S. Forest Service-USDA timber sale in the “Idaho Panhandle” area, which will protect some grizzly bears hanging onto life by a thread in the Selkirk Mountains. Selkirk grizzlies are scarce and endangered, persisting on the brink of extinction.
“U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled Friday in favor of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and issued a preliminary injunction on the 2,500-acre (1,000-hectare) Hanna Flats Logging Project in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.”
I know everyone will hate this idea—and I mean, almost everyone—but, if current recreational trends continue, it might a good time to start accepting that grizzly country should be for grizzlies. Otherwise, it’s a near certainty that there will be more encounters that will equal more human deaths, which will almost always equal more grizzly deaths and further demonization of grizzlies. The the egocentric will hate it.
Alternatively, should people sign a waiver if they intend to walk, hike, backpack, fish, hunt, etc. in grizzly country agreeing they will not hold a bear accountable if they are attacked and agree the bear should not be killed?
In Idaho’s Selkirk Range, the Harrison Lake trail was closed because some moron with a loose dog had his camp raided by a moose and shot it.
Is it time for Glacier Park to control recreationalists, with more rules, like on National Forest land? Is that a good strategy? Or, is a no-use option the only solution? Why not just ban all recreation in griz country?
There are far too many people recreating in griz country. Humans are a menace to most wildlife. They remain the biggest threat to grizzlies. Just ban all recreation in griz country.
People in Great Falls showing up recently at a commission meeting to protest more development for recreation, stating they do not want Great Falls to be a recreation destination. They said: “Look at Bozeman and the Flathead – we don’t want that for Great Falls.”
A federal district court judge recently ruled in favor of grizzly bears and bull trout in a lawsuit filed by grassroots environmental groups challenging the 2018 revised Flathead Forest Plan. The Flathead National Forest in Northwest Montana has a long history of giving priority to timber industry interests at the expense of wildlife, native fisheries, water quality and what’s left of the untrammeled mixed conifer forest landscape that surrounds Glacier National Park. What happens outside Park boundaries influences what happens inside the arbitrary boundary, and visa versa.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy cited Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ruling that the federal agencies were negligent in abandoning the prior Plan’s Amendment 19 road management protections (The forestwide Plan recovery standard for over 30 years) for grizzly bear and bull trout. Molloy said: “it’s like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” Amendment 19’s road closure and removal requirements are credited with putting threatened grizzly bears on a path toward recovery.
Amendment 19’s requirement that culverts be removed from unnecessary, permanently-closed roads is credited with helping protect threatened bull trout from the sediment released by inevitable clogging and wash-outs where culverts intersect unused and abandoned logging roads.
“We’re living in the first truly global-hegemonic ideological system in human history. We have been for the last 30 years. If you are touchy about the term “global capitalism,” go ahead and call it “globalism,” or “crony capitalism,” or “corporatism,” or whatever other name you need to.”
Montana has a new governor that likes to kill things, especially wolves. He’s determined to keep the public from participating in decisions that will greatly expand opportunities for trappers and hunters to kill wolves in Montana. Zoom meetings have replaced public meetings. It’s hard to talk to a real person in a government office these days. Remote is the way bureaucrats and managers like it. See no evil, hear no evil. I’m talking about their impression of the (evil) public, who have been replaced by “stakeholders.” Too bad, so sad.
What makes a cold-blooded killer? It is a mind disease that takes over one’s ability to reason before acting. No amount of psychology, philosophy, religion or will power seems to counteract the urge to kill once it’s overtaken the mind.
Wolves are not trapped and hunted for sustenance. There are obviously cultural and historical reasons one can cite for the collective insanity that drives hatred of wolves and other wild predators. This mind disease is overwhelmingly found in males. Wetiko. Little wetiko, big wetiko, it doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve introduced this subject before. https://wordpress.com/post/pieceofmindful.com/91762
Perhaps, there’s no finer example of this mass psychosis in action. All top elected officials in the Northern Rockies region — where wolves thrive — fear and hate wolves enough to kill as many as possible, as fast as possible. Of course, it’s not just wolves these executioners are targeting, it’s all life forms. We see that little red dot on our own chest from time to time. We are all targets of the “managers” (killers) charged with managing the universe in the glory of God, apparently. Their god, not mine.
Wilderness has its detractors and its defenders. Mark and I have both had, let’s call it disappointing, experienced with the Montana Wilderness Association. That’s all over now, water under the bridge. The Montana Wilderness Association do longer exists, it’s been renamed: “Wild Montana.” https://wildmontana.org/
It’s a relief in many ways to see this unveiling of the true nature of this NGO (non-governmental organization). Most of the founding members have passed on. The new membership and leadership is made of folks who cherish wilderness in a post-card kind of way; something resembling a still image on the side of a refrigerator. Concrete, static, “beautiful,” but loved for its groomed trails and conversational value at the wine and cheese gatherings in urban settings — part of an identity, but quite separate and apart from the domesticated, sophisticated, plastic-fantastic day-to-day lives of most “Wild Montana” subscribers.
Ironically, as MWA sheds its “wilderness skin,” Subaru is embracing its new, rugged, re-branded image. Meet the “Wilderness” in the comfort of a 2022 model all-wheel vehicle.
Montana Wild, like it’s former self ( MWA) is a wing of the Montana Democratic Party and a hiking club, nothing more. Even its commitment to hiking takes a backseat to trail commerce. There’s money to be made with all the new machines ripping up and down forest trails lately. Government subsidies are beginning to flood into the mechanized trail-use industry’s playground. Sorry hikers, it’s all about “new markets.”
A little good news for trees and critters in the upper Priest River area in northern Idaho. After years of battling the U.S. Forest Service and it’s work games, a federal judge wasn’t fooled by the “happy talk” and sent the agency back to the drawing board. This by no means is the end of this battle, but it does demonstrate, I believe, that the simple strategy of endless pressure, endlessly applied can produce positive results, even in the face of overwhelming odds against winning. The misuse of the “categorical exclusion” to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) is one of the Forest Service’s favorite administrative maneuvers to further one of the primary neo-liberal economic principles: deregulation.
Always good to stay positive, even when the world seems like it’s crashing down upon us. This piece appeared first in CounterPunch, April 30, 2021. https://www.counterpunch.org/
Hanna Flats, Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Photo: Paul Sieracki.
The upper Priest River area in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest has the largest contiguous area of old-growth cedar, hemlock, and grand fir in the interior Western United States and the largest concentration of ancient cedar stands in northern Idaho. Because of the bowl-shaped topography the high ridges on three sides capture cold air in the lower elevations and trap cool moist air in the summer. The result is that the low-elevation winter snowpack is deeper and more persistent than elsewhere in northern Idaho and summertime conditions are relatively moist and cool compared to neighboring areas which makes the area less susceptible to wildfires.
Yesterday, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) reintroduced our 23-million acre, 5-state ecosystem bill, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (S.1276) in the U.S. Senate (117th congress). First introduced in 1992 by Rep. Peter Kostmayer (D-PA), this legislation is the first of its kind to take a “beyond borders” (ecosystem) approach to public lands protection. Based on John and Frank Craighead’s work in Yellowstone National Park, primarily studying grizzly bears, we have tried to incorporate the most valuable fish and wildlife habitat in the “Wild Rockies bioregion” into legislative form to protect what’s left of “untrammeled nature” in the Lower 48.
Of course, not a single senator from the West signed on. But then again, not a single southern senator signed onto the Civil Rights Act. The (abusive) powers that be control the bills that pass through congress, lubed with big bags of money delivered by K Street lobbyists, so we’re not expecting passage in this congress. But what is life without vision?