Effort underway in Congress to repeal the Montana Wilderness Study Act of 1977-

Back in 1977 when Montana had a much greener congressional delegation, Montana senator Lee Metcalf got a bill passed and signed into law giving semi-Wilderness protection to about 700-thousand acres of scenic and wildlife rich Montana mountains.  The roadless areas protected until Congress made a final decision are the Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn, Big Snowies, Ten Lakes, Blue Joint, Sapphires, Middle Fork Judith, and the West Pioneer mountains.

Most conservationists assumed Congress would act positively and protect them as full fledged units of the National Wilderness Preservation System without much delayAt the time a number of Wilderness areas had been and were being designated throughout the West, including Montana. However Wilderness for these areas was not to come quickly. In fact, today they remain Wilderness Study Areas, not Wilderness.

With the election of Ronald Reagan as President in 1980, the influence of conservation groups began to dry up.  In addition, outsiders had discovered Montana. Many moved in. Many newcomers brought brown, right wing attitudes that did not respect the traditional Montana pride in its scenery, wildlife, hard to access backcountry, or the freedom derived from ready access to the large acreage of American public lands in the state.

Fortunately, these wilderness study lands remained protected from all development schemes except for off-road vehicles until Congress made a decision. Now Montana’s Republican Representative Dennis Rehberg had teamed up with some out-of-state U.S. Representatives to have Congress decide to release these areas into non-wilderness. He is being hotly opposed by his incumbent opponent, Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester and Montana’s other senator Democrat Max Baucus.

Businesses and non-profits are lining up on both sides of the issue as described in this news article. Proposal to release roadless, wilderness study areas gains backers, opponents. By Rob Chaney. Missoulian.

The matter probably won’t be settled in 2012 as President Obama would like veto Rehberg’s bill if only to help senator Tester get reelected.

Here is a detailed description of the lands in question from the Montana Wilderness Association. Wilderness Study Areas

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.

66 Responses to Montana Wilderness Study Areas law is under attack by the usual suspects.

  1. avatar Doryfun says:

    Aritcle quote: “The federal government has locked up 43 million acres of federal land in so-called Wilderness Study Areas and Inventoried Roadless Areas, which the government decided weren’t suitable for wilderness.”

    Locked up? Jail for wildlife? Maybe a barrier against people to take away timber, but not mushrooms, firewood, fishing or hunting. (just visiting is even a wise use) On just which side of the bars is the real threat to wildlife and healthy forests anyway?

    Aritcle quote: “This land is still treated like wilderness, which not only restricts public access but limits our ability to manage the land to keep forests healthy for wildlife.
    Loosening restrictions on some of this land not only opens the land for public use and enjoyment, but improves the habitat for deer, elk and fish.”

    Look at a road atlas. Do we have a shortage of roads in this country? Roadless and wilderness lands are already open for public use and enjoyment. There is already plenty of roads and trashed landscapes for the increased flux of obnoxious “must have a machine to get there” crowd. Why open up more places, when it is peace and quiet that is becoming increasingly rare and endangered? More places with limited access is needed, not more. People have rights to go where ever, but not by how ever. They are not entitled to use motors on every inch of the planet.

    Forest health? It does fine without management, just not groomed precisely for human values only. Not every acre of ground needs improvement for deer, elk, and fish. Why not work on improvements on the acres already devoted to maximum sustained multiple use?

    Integrity of watersheds need more protection, not less. Wilderness and roadless areas are often in upper reaches of various drainages, so this is one place I support the Republicans “trickle down theory.” Tax these areas less so that they will filter down to the benefit of more.

    Why do we have all this recent assault on everything (from women, to now wilderness), leading us backwards, rather than forwards, that is now reaching such a fevered pitch? After hearing an interview on the Rachel Maddow show with Senator James Inhofe, (R) Oklahoma, ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, author of the new book “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future” I have a clue. (his book is the bigger hoax).

    Based on his answers, (my perception) my conclusion to this voracious appetite question is fundamentally – religion. From day one when boots first stepped off the Mayflower, dominionist began their march ordained from on High, devouringly across the landscape, into 2012. Since early on, much has changed in our country, much hasn’t. The retrograde is sad.

    • avatar Barb says:

      Well, said Doryfun.

      Oregon is not so lucky as Idaho and Montana for areas protected. All its areas combined are smaller than the Frank Church.

      The forest health issue needs to be addressed in areas around communities – not in wilderness. There are many acres that are already roaded without building more roads to degrade water quality. When all that land has been “taken care of” then they can start over.

      More wild areas will be need in the future, not fewer.

  2. avatar Mike says:

    This is really the biggest issue for me.

    They aren’t making any more roadless areas. IMHO they should all be set aside. There’s plenty of roaded land available for all sorts of motorized pursuits and extraction.

  3. avatar Mike says:

    Also, be careful of the phrasing here, folks. Don’t use their talking points such as “release”. That word connotes that something is “caught” or “trapped”.

  4. avatar Mike says:

    Also not surprised to see the NRA sign on for this. Shameful.

  5. avatar Louise Kane says:

    the same argument that applies to needing roadless areas applies to needing hunting free and wilderness zones for wildlife.

    doryfun said it very nicely
    Forest health? It does fine without management, just not groomed precisely for human values only. Not every acre of ground needs improvement for deer, elk, and fish. Why not work on improvements on the acres already devoted to maximum sustained multiple use?

    substitutre ecosystem health and wildlife populations health and the same concept applies. Not every animal population or ecosystem needs alteration for elk, deer and fish. Why not work on improving the health of the overall ecosystem by allowing animals to maintain self limiting populations.

    I agree with all of you. its a shame we are going backward and not forward. Wilderness and areas without motorized vehicles are essential.

    Not surprising to me that the NRA sign is on this.

    • avatar Barb says:

      Perhaps some wilderness without humans is in order since we seem not able to quit meddling.

  6. avatar Doryfun says:

    Why do posts about wolves get so many responses, yet threats to habitat attract far less concern for comment? What is more important here? Hunting and fishing regs can adjust fish and wildlife populations, but loss of habiat is just that – LOST,. never to return. Animals arouse emotions, but ground is, well, just “unglamorous” ground.

    Populations of fish and wildlife can change up or down fairly rapidly. Restoration of over-utilized landscapes used to extract natural resources often takes a long recovery time. Roads are one of the biggest impacts to fish and wildlife, due to acres of real estate taken out of production, increased erosion, negative modifications to animal behavior, and diminished effectiveness of ecosystem services. Converting forests into monocultures lessons biodiversity.

    With spring run off, Grand Canyon’s Colorado River is said to be “too thick to drink, and too thin to plow.” This may be natural for desert rivers flowing through more sedimentary geology, but not so much for fertile soils in high mountain meadow terrains. Increased sediment loads can choke redds and fill up dams. Roads and water quality are inversely proportional and rates of change are exponential. Inch by inch, loss soon morphs into mile by mile. Even the amount of damage caused by extreme floods can be significantly increased by anthropomorphic landscape changes.

    Where are those reluctant collaborate and compromise folks now? Ups and downs in critter numbers (wild or domestic) is changeable, habitat loss isn’t. If lines in the sand are warranted, I can’t think of a better place to stand ground than for issues which subtract irreplaceable permanence from the planet. Apply, the “extinction is forever” equation here.

    • avatar aves says:

      You’re absolutely right and habitat loss will only continue until more of us stop “fiddling while Rome burns”.

    • avatar jburnham says:

      Doryfun says: “Where are those reluctant collaborate and compromise folks now? Ups and downs in critter numbers (wild or domestic) is changeable, habitat loss isn’t.”

      Staying reluctant. Have you seen Sen. Tester’s “collaborative” Forest Jobs and Recreation bill? It releases hundreds of thousands of acres of Wilderness study and inventoried roadless lands, many of the same areas listed in this post. Not as bad as Rehberg’s idea, but “collaboration” isn’t a silver bullet for preserving WSA’s or roadless lands either.

      • avatar Doryfun says:

        Jburnham,

        “Have you seen Sen. Tester’s “collaborative” Forest Jobs and Recreation bill?”

        No, I haven’t seen it. But it sounds terrible. Ya, I know collaboration isn’t a silver bullet. My point was (intended, anyway) that exactly. While it has been pointed out on previous posts that new studies show collaboration can be effective, and another “tool” to use, there are times that compromise simply means more to lose, nothing gained. There are times to defend the line.
        Unfortunately, as illustrated by the party of No (republicans) we can see how ugly that dance can sometimes get. There have been times in my past, when I wanted to stand the line, but recognized/conceded, that more might be lost, when chances for a win were very small, so losing some, by compromise, seemed better than losing a lot by not. Did I like it? Hell no.

  7. avatar Doryfun says:

    Not to forget, in a country not willing to address human population growth, more untouched medicinal wild places will be needed, not less. As a culture willing to think we can pull a magic rabbit out of the hat with a seemingly unlimited capacity to increase productivity per acre, there should be no need to subtract more land from our limited wild places to accommodate our consumptive addictions.

  8. avatar Mike says:

    It’s important to remember that a huge portion of hunting groups support this bill, and others like it. When you see Johnny Rifle out on his quad in the fall, it’s safe to assume he wants wilderness gone. The NRA does (by supporting this bill), and they represent a huge portion of hunters.

    There’s a big, big portion of the hunting community that hates wilderness and predators. For them, it comes down to control. They want to road and develop roadless areas because they feel the need to control it, and development is how they express that control. It’s the same thing for the wolf. It’s not something they can easily control, but they try. Controlling the wolf by lethal means brings some kind of resolve to their own lack of control in their daily lives (much the same way shooting an animal provides a sense of power and dominion they fail to achieve in everyday life).

    What these are, plain and simple is mad apes (but not quite as fit).

    I’m not surprised to see WM and Savebears absent from this thread. They usually fail to speak up when hunting groups are wrong.

    • avatar WM says:

      Mike,

      I tend to support leaving these areas in study status. I don’t know anything about them specifically. I do know the studu areas generally receive pretty thorough analyses while in study status. Teams of professionals – biologists, geologists, foresters, arch/anthro, and the like produces lots of data and reports. Supposedly this all goes into a rigorous multiple use analysis, with recommendations made whether to go forward with wilderness designation. And then the political games begin in earnest.

      This is one topic area -studu and more study-where I definitely think slower is better. Once released from study status, multiple use including extraction of minerals and renewable forest can, of course occur over time. Once locked up, it is locked up, which has its positive values in posterity. Deliberation is a good thing.

      And I could give a rat’s arse about the folks who feel they should be able to ride an ATV or a snowmobile to access these areas. Let them walk.

      • avatar Savebears says:

        I would gladly Walk in those areas WM!

      • avatar WM says:

        And a point I forgot to mention, is while an area is in study status it limits certain land uses, which almost makes it defacto wilderness, anyway. That is a good thing in the short term, so it can kind of be test driven in that status, so to speak. Does it get used? Is there support for making it wilderness? Is there opposition, by whom and why? What economic opportunities are forgone by making it wilderness, and who benefits if it is/isnt?

        Again, a longer time is better. And for goodness sake don’t make it a national park unless you really want to screw it up, with over regulation and over-use! [Louise, the above two posts are rant opinion comments. Note punctuation and language.]

  9. avatar Savebears says:

    Mike,

    I am not absent, I just logged on. Your continued attack on WM and Me is getting ridiculous, I have no problem with leaving this area as wilderness and granting full wilderness protections for it. I am not a member of any organized hunting group and am not a member of the NRA. Because I am a hunter seems to really get your goat. I have fully explained my position on many hunting topics on this blog and you still continue to include me in your rants!

    • avatar Doryfun says:

      Mike,

      Sorry, Mike,

      I know lots of hunters who support wilderness and roadless areas. BHA is one such organization. Even most outfitters, though despised by some on this blog, support wilderness, because most depend on it for their livelihoods. The motorhead crowd does not necessarily represent the vast majoroty of hunters who respect values that support their interests.

      What good does it do to alienate potential allies for saving wild lands with morality issues?

      • avatar Mike says:

        Dory -

        Read the article. Hunting groups support this crazy bill. So does the NRA, which has one of the largest group memberships in the nation, made up mostly of hunters.

        Sticking your head in the sand on this issue is not going to help.

        It’s about time ethical hunters started taking care of their own, started throwing some weight against the clueless in their midst.

        Those sportsmen who support wilderness seem to be primarily in the west, and either have commercial interests in their existence (outfitters) or took the time to read about and visit such places. Most hunter websites are convinced by groups like the NRA rather than a few Montana businesses with an interest in preserving roadless areas.

        No allies are being alienated. You either believe in the science and take action to see it through or you don’t.
        The vast majority of anti-wolf, anti-wilderness rhetoric comes from the hunting/gun community. This is not myth. This is not false. This is the truth. And something needs to be done about it.

        • avatar aves says:

          “Read the article. Hunting groups support this crazy bill.”

          Hunting groups oppose it as well. The article clearly mentions the MWF is strongly against the bill and the RMEF is not supporting it.

          With your constant anti-hunting rants and condescension towards anyone who disagrees with you, an NRA troll could hardly surpass your gift for divisiveness and obstruction.

    • avatar Mike says:

      SB -

      I bring up your name because you’re one of the ethical ones. If you find that offensive, well all I can do is chuckle.

      • avatar Savebears says:

        Mike,

        You are an oxymoron. That is all I can say, you were surprised that I had not commented and then when I do, you throw another jab at me? What gives? Is WM an ethical one in your judgment at well?

        • avatar Mike says:

          No comment on WM.

          My only issue in regards to you and the context of this forum is it’s easy for you to blame green groups, but when hunter’s groups screw up (like in this anti-roadless bill) you seem to go quiet.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            That is BS Mike, when a wrong is do, I have no problem blaming those at fault! One thing I understand is both sides, can and do stupid things.

            Did I go quiet on this issue? I posted exactly what I felt, didn’t I, I have no problem with leaving this wilderness area, I have no problem with road less areas, I condemn poachers and coyote contests don’t I? As soon as I was aware of this issue, I posted my position on it, didn’t I?

            Your a jerk, that is biases and can’t believe a hunter could actually care about the environment, your shooting yourself in the foot Mike and I hope it hurts like hell!

            Why not comment on WM, are his opinions and insight anyless valid than yours or mine? I asked you a direct question?

  10. avatar Nancy says:

    Putting the thought of roadless areas into perspective…..again, in case you missed it:

    http://www.wildmontana.org/programs/roadless.php

  11. avatar Doryfun says:

    Mike,

    “Sticking your head in the sand on this issue is not going to help.” I live in Idaho and a few years back made two different trips to DC to participate in efforts to save Idaho Roadless areas, when they were being threatened with new legislation. Does that sound like sticking my head in the sand to you?

    “No allies are being alienated. “

    If this is so, why do your comments on this blog inspire so much challenge and name calling?
    Fighting moral battles may win you a personal victory here and there, but diverts attention from the issue and may lead to losing the war.

    “You either believe in the science and take action to see it through or you don’t.”

    Science isn’t a belief, faith is. With a BS in Wildlife Science way back when, habitat management experience (specifically working with road impacts to fish and wildlife) and lots of time fighting far too many threats to fish and wildlife in the political arena, does this sound like “taking action” to you?

    I’m curious, how old are you, what part of the country do you live in, and what is your background? These things matter, as they help shape how we perceive the world.

    • avatar Mike says:

      What does any of this have to do with the fact that a huge amount of hunters support this anti-roadless bill?

      You can’t deny that, although it looks like you’re trying to change the subject, anyway.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Mike,

        Like someone else who does not post here anymore, JHC, all you do is bitch and whine. You can’t see the forest for the trees.

        Your PASSION IS COMMENDABLE, but what good is it doing. I’m not calling the kettle black as I’ve had my share of comments that focus on the dark side of what is/has occurred. But you clash with almost
        everyone on this site, forgetting that in one way, shape, form or another, we are all on the same side.

        How about trying to be part of (a)the solution? Offer something that we can do to help out the carnivores for which you are such a staunch advocate. Try leading rather than be confrontational.

        • avatar Doryfun says:

          Immer,

          Thanks for your support. I always appreciate reading your posts, due to the fact that you rarely (if ever)get pulled into character asssination or killing the messenger. And you always make good sense. This site is a good place to learn, aside from the occassional diversions and distractions.

          Apparently, some people almost need a 2×4 across the brow to to help them see the forest.

          • avatar Mike says:

            Dory -

            Yous till haven’t addressed the fact that the largest hunting/gun group in the world supports this bill.

            • avatar Doryfun says:

              And you didn’t answer my question either (where ya from, how old, backgorund check).

              Are you just a right fighter? My way or the highway type a guy?

              My answer: so what? Rarely does anything ever get 100 % support from vearious groups and interests.
              Even if there was more than 50% support by hunting groups, how does that change the idea that we need more viable habitat left with potential for “unmarred by man” managment (or non-management) to provide for fish and wildlife left a little more on its own function, without our help?

              BTW – it is hard to want to answer questions from people who spend more time trying to stir up hornets, than contribute to solutions. Time is valuable, and I hate to waste mine.

            • avatar Mike says:

              Yes, time is valuable. So is integrity.

              Can you explain to me why it is hunters, and no one else that attacks everything this site stands for? Can you tell me why they attack predators and wilderness?

            • avatar Doryfun says:

              Mike,

              Integrity? I answered your question, but you didn’t answer mine.

              Dinking around with skirmishes, to help you validate your anti-hunter position is a waste of my time, and when people like you continue to saddle up on the high horse of moralities, I will no longer particiapte in such bickering,or responding, to help satisfy your ego.

            • avatar Mike says:

              Dory -

              You continue to make this about me, rather than about the fact that the world’s largest hunting/gun group supports this anti-roadless bill, as do other groups.

              How does it make you feel when hunters attack wilderness? What can we do to educate them?

        • avatar Mike says:

          Immer-

          How about addressing the topic?

          This isn’t about me, but rather about he fact that many, many hunters support this anti-roadless, anti-wildlife bill. Try to focus on that.

      • avatar WM says:

        Mike,

        “What does any of this have to do with the fact that a huge amount of hunters support this anti-roadless bill?”

        Whether hunters, as you describe them, have much final say on the outcome of this bill is clearly debateable. I think the major hunting groups have come out somewhat against the bill, or oppose it.

        The real powerhouses of political influence on this matter will be the mining industry, agriculture/livestock, logging and homebuilders associations, and the general laisse faire and conservative business types, as well as the lockstep Republicans. So, they will argue jobs, opportunity costs of locking up renewable and non-renewable resources, and the socialism of having so much government land set aside up for just a few to enjoy at the exclusion of many others. It will play well in parts of the West and the South, when it comes time for a Congressional vote.

        And, so you understand, the NRA, influential in its own right (pun intended) is not comprised of just hunters in the West.

        Once again, commenting outside your pay grade, eh Mike?

        • avatar Doryfun says:

          WM

          Great points, WM. The blue and red perspectives of natural resources, rather they should be conserved, preserved, used,not used, used by whom, and at what costs to the public, is always a challenge.

          And like the Citizens United, Supreme Court influence on our top heavy government/industry controlled country, this same dynamic will have far more impact to what happens on the ground, than hunter groups, various NGO’s, and the general publics interest.

          Sadly, even though many politians (red or blue) say many things when it comes time to get elected, their memory fades just as fast as does those who vote for them. Voters might have more confidence in the process, if politicians actually did their job of representation without a big thumb pushing down on them.

        • avatar Mike says:

          ++Whether hunters, as you describe them, have much final say on the outcome of this bill is clearly debateable. I think the major hunting groups have come out somewhat against the bill, or oppose it.++

          Nice spin, WM. This bill is backed by a huge portion of hunters.

          The NRA is the largest gun/hunting group in the world.

          ++The real powerhouses of political influence on this matter will be the mining industry, agriculture/livestock, logging and homebuilders associations, and the general laisse faire and conservative business types, as well as the lockstep Republicans. So, they will argue jobs, opportunity costs of locking up renewable and non-renewable resources, and the socialism of having so much government land set aside up for just a few to enjoy at the exclusion of many others. It will play well in parts of the West and the South, when it comes time for a Congressional vote.++

          Many people don’t care about this, especially in places like the south where a fenced in tree farm filled with rabbit and deer is considered “the outdoors”. Anti-wilderness is primarily a western hunter thing. Yes, there are hunting groups and hunters who support wilderness and predators, but where are they? I don’t hear much from them. This site seems to be one of the few places where hunters even understand what all this means in the long run.

          ++And, so you understand, the NRA, influential in its own right (pun intended) is not comprised of just hunters in the West.

          Once again, commenting outside your pay grade, eh Mike
          ++

          I know it sort of embarrasses you that your favorite hunting groups are on board against this anti-wilderness bill, but it’s no reason to engage in a “my dick is bigger than yours” competition. You never know what you’re stepping in when you start one of those. ;)

          • avatar WM says:

            Mike,

            ++Many people don’t care about this, especially in places like the south….++

            Your potty humor aside, it is pretty clear, you know very little about national politics and how decisions are made in the trenches – as they say politics is like sausage, you don’t want to watch it being made.

            Ultimately, from a national perspective, this is not focused on whether constituents or their elected officials care about wilderness (but in the south you are probably right- they don’t care) or anything else, for that matter.

            It is about brokering power, leverage and taking and giving chits for what you do to support or oppose issues and bills, who you owe and where it places you on the chess board for the next issues that require power brokering.

            You don’t know squat about the NRA. It is not just a hunting organization, in fact, I bet considerably less than half its national influence is focused there. It is a gun rights, second amendment, fundamentalist organization which has been labeled the most powerful lobby group in the Country. That, in itself, gives it influence in many other areas well beyond its core mission. It is a big dog in the room and it can be mean.

            NRA will talk to a couple of key leaders in the House (R controlled) and the Senate (barely D controlled and worried about a shift). And tell them what they would like to see on a particular issue affecting their constituency and allied organizations (and yes there is a relationship between the NRA and the national homebuilders association, or national manufacturing organizations, mining, agriculture, even labor, on some issues).

            Pulling a general example out of the air, for example, Senator Shelby R-AL), could probably care less about wilderness designation in MT but he has a vote to trade maybe for something he wants regionally, or even involving shaking hands across the aisle with some D that might owe him a favor.

            For example giving a hypothetical, Shelby wants aviation jobs in the South, and has already sold his soul to Airbus, an international and devious competitor to Boeing, whose manufuacturing facilities are mostly located in the Northwest. He might approach Tester (D-MT) and say something like, I’ll help you on this wilderness thing, if you support me on something else, like the Airbus issue, which might be coming up within the year (some of this crap has already happened on the Air Force tanker over the last few years).

            And, Mike, I know a fair number of hunters in the Northwest. Among my acquantenances probably less than 5 percent now or in the past have belonged to NRA, and maybe 40-50% have been members of RMEF. I don’t know how representative that is but, it is one datapoint.

            • avatar JEFF E says:

              Another example maybe much closer to home is the funding by congress for wolf re-introduction that was taking place in the late eighties and nineties. This is one big talking point by the haters about how congress would not pass any funding legislation.

              In actuality the funding was proposed but ended up being blocked by the Wyoming delegation by means of not voting on other legislation until the re-introduction funds were off the table. Later Wyoming received some other consideration in exchange for allowing the re-introduction funding. This is a quick example but I am pretty sure I have the core of it right as I did some very extensive research on this question a few years ago.

              So the take away here is being publicly for or against an issue in the political arena usually has little or nothing to do with the issue itself but rather with some sort of you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.

              Having said all that, what is crystal clear and recognized by pretty much an across the entire spectrum of experience that is represented by the posters on this forum is that you, $3 Mike, are possibly/probably the least knowledgeable of any other single poster here, compounded by the fact that, as evidenced by the passage of time, you make no effort to educate yourself on the pertinent issues.

              Essentially all you are good at is throwing turds over the fence, adding nothing of relevance to any topic or discussion, then when someone (of the infinitely)more knowledgeable on any given subject challenges you, invariably you will fall back on the “this is not about me and you are being mean to me” whine.

              Basically you are the dictionary definition of a troll.

              Now, whine away.

            • avatar Mike says:

              WM -

              You lost me in the second or third paragraph when I realized you were heading off on some tangent.

              The truth is, a ton of hunters and hunting/gun groups support anti-wilderness legislation, and have done so in the past.

              Why is it that almost all the anti-predator nonsense comes from hunters? Why is it that almost all the anti-wilderness nonsense comes from them as well? Sure, industry likes to use them to keep that door cracked open ,and many of these groups are pawns, but that sentiment is widespread throughout the community.

              Why? Misinformation, that’s why. Repeated at the barstool level across rural towns.

              Perhaps it is mankind’s self-destructive nature that see’s many of these same angry white guys intent on not only destroying themselves, but the very thing they claim to cherish (the outdoors and hunting). How could one possibly claim to enjoy the great outdoors, and the “spirit of the wild”, yet at the same time seek its reduction?

              Confusing, to say the least. Or are they just stupid?

              The NRA is the largest gun/hunting group in the world. Gun groups are intrinsically linked to all aspects of hunting. In fact, I’d say guns, which are in essence industry, have taken precedence over all else for most of the community.

              It is the revolving culture of death that seeks to crush itself under its own insanity. And this desire of many hunters to kill off predators and to tame roadless lands is no different.

              Tip your cap to madness, WM. Ain’t it grand?

            • avatar WM says:

              Mike,

              You are probably right, that my example was a little obscure and maybe not as clear as it should have been. Keep your eye on the concept of power brokering and vote trading that is the operative part.

              Let’s try this, again. NRA is an incredibly powerful lobby group, who is more tied to industry and fundamental conservatism and second amendment rights than it is anything hunters in the West might want.

              That being the case, if very hunter in the West who belonged to that organization said, “I support wilderness and so should you,” the NRA would still lobby in favor of its other direct and indirect constituencies if they conflicted. It is that strong, and that broad in its power base (mining, agriculture, ATV/ORV/auto/gun,ammo, outdoor gear manufacturing, construction industry, conservative civil liberty causes including hand gun laws, and conservative electorate) which trump hunter and other recreation interests. It is that committed to conservative interests and causes, that Western hunting interests would be easily abandoned in a heartbeat if they conflict (as wilderness designation does)with the other big plays on the chess board, to position themselves for the next big move.

              You would likely benefit by thinking on those topics a bit.

            • avatar Doryfun says:

              WM,
              Appreciate your take on many of the issues on this site, even playing devils advocate at times, from a legal perspective and view of the big picture politically. Early on in my wildlife career I often urged lawyer friends to get more involved in environmental law, as like it or not, bio-politics and the legal arena is where the most significant battles take place. But most claimed there was not enough money in it, and still had to make a living, with apparently little time for altruism.

              Like ecology, it takes a community to make a healthy landscape, so having experts from various fields helps make this blog site more enlightening for many folks, rather they participate with comments or not. The idea being that more knowledge, not less, helps shine a light on some of the darker places in our society. You can’t change, what you don’t know, or acknowledge. And it is getting harder all the time to sift out the truth from all the high powered brokerages, as you call them, and fancy dancing, as Indians might refer to it. And, you are right on about the NRA. ( I never have been a member, or ever will be).

              It is often more glamourous to talk wolves and bighorns, but all require secure habitats, in-tact, as the bottom-line to the overall success for all community members, all inclusive – fish, wildlife, and people.

              I don’t always understand a lot of the legalese, loop holes, and repercussions, so am glad to hear from those with more experience, like yourself, in these areas. Just like I appreciate hearing from ranchers and other folks with different views, but just as much interest in what is going on in our world. That is, when dialogue does not get thrown off kilter into spitting matches and irrational directions.

          • avatar Mike says:

            Jeff -

            I’d say “nice attempt at a dodge”, but it was pretty bad.

            You’re still avoiding the issue. Why are we here in 2012, defending an attack on wilderness by gun and hunting groups?

            This is the question at large. Why is it so?

            As far as your personal complaints, I have no interest in petty egotistical battles. It is these sorts of engagements that cause stupid people to kill off wolves to begin with. It is these sorts of contests that pit gun and hunting groups against wilderness. It is these sort of things that start wars. It is these sorts of things that cause insane hillbillies to hold “coyote tournaments”.

            Again, why are we here in 2012, having to defend wilderness from hunting/gun groups?

            Try to answer that question, which relates to the context of this very thread.

            • avatar JEFF E says:

              what is crystal clear and recognized by pretty much an across the entire spectrum of experience that is represented by the posters on this forum is that you, $3 Mike, are possibly/probably the least knowledgeable of any other single poster here, compounded by the fact that, as evidenced by the passage of time, you make no effort to educate yourself on the pertinent issues.

              Essentially all you are good at is throwing turds over the fence, adding nothing of relevance to any topic or discussion, then when someone (of the infinitely)more knowledgeable on any given subject challenges you, invariably you will fall back on the “this is not about me and you are being mean to me” whine.

            • avatar Mike says:

              You just can’t help yourself, Jeff. This isn’t about me. This is about the thread topic.

              Why, in 2012, are we having to defend wilderness from gun and hunting groups?

              Please try to stay on topic.

            • avatar JEFF E says:

              what is crystal clear and recognized by pretty much an across the entire spectrum of experience that is represented by the posters on this forum is that you, $3 Mike, are possibly/probably the least knowledgeable of any other single poster here, compounded by the fact that, as evidenced by the passage of time, you make no effort to educate yourself on the pertinent issues.

              Essentially all you are good at is throwing turds over the fence, adding nothing of relevance to any topic or discussion, then when someone (of the infinitely)more knowledgeable on any given subject challenges you, invariably you will fall back on the “this is not about me and you are being mean to me” whine.

              Basically you are the dictionary definition of a troll.

      • avatar mikarooni says:

        Gosh, Mike, you sure stirred them up again and, again, I don’t understand the intensity of their annoyance. The position of the NRA is clear; they can’t argue about that. But, it’s also clear that a large fraction of hunters in the West, quite probably a majority of hunters in MT, support the NRA. So, they support the NRA, but are ashamed to be associated with the NRA’s clearly stated positions and policies? I’ve heard of RINOs, but NRAINOs?

        • avatar Mike says:

          Bingo, Mikarooni.

          Rather than owning up to a huge portion of hunters being anti-roadless, anti-predator, they come out with personal attacks.

          It’s very transparent.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            Mike,

            You’ve made your point. My point is, what is your solution rather than the habitual he sucks they sucks diatribes.

            Being confrontational here will not remedy the problem. No cynicism meant, but show a rational way to counter what you believe to be so horrible. Being angry and ranting is exhausting. And before you bring up the anti’s, they’ve got the funding behind them, even to the point of it’s pretty damn easy to break the law and get away with it.

            What is your solution? Lead. Where is the defensible line to be drawn? How will it be defended? I am weary of the extremes on both sides in the issues at hand. Offer something that can help rather than barking at the moon.

            • avatar Mike says:

              What is the solution to misinformed hunting and gun groups attacking wilderness?

              Education. But the problem with this type is that they’ll only listen to their own kind. They won’t listen to a scientist unless that scientist hunts, etc. I’ve seen that line of thought over and over. It has to be done from within the community, and that has to grow and overtake the stupidity.
              Instead, what we see is hunters who are knowledgeable usually heading for cover because they don’t want to be labeled as pariahs by their witch-burning court peers. Their numbers are also lower.

              It’s an interesting dilemma. One that is difficult to tackle. If it was easy, the coyote tournaments would be the first to go.

              The problem with behavior in which mammals are tortured and valuable lands lost to development is that you have to call it out for what it is. Anti-predator, anti-wilderness beliefs and actions need to be systematically denounced and ridiculed at every possible level.

        • avatar Mike says:

          Watch them dance, Mik.

          • avatar mikarooni says:

            “They won’t listen to a scientist unless that scientist hunts…”

            That comment brings up another interesting point. I used to belong to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF); you know, Ranger Rick and all that stuff. In those days, the NWF and its state affiliates weren’t anti-hunting and even made sure to acknowledge that hunting, under the right circumstances, was acceptable; but, they were fundamentally staunch wildlife conservation groups that focused on the conservation of all wildlife species, game and non-game alike. Recently, I passed a magazine rack with free copies of the newsletter for the state wildlife federation. It was a polished little twelve or sixteen page publication and I thought I’d take a look if just for old times sake. You know, in the entire newsletter, all twelve or sixteen damned pages, there was not one single mention of conserving or protecting any non-game species or their habitat. The whole filthy despicable thing was completely dedicated to hunting stories, with the exception of one article complaining about how some guy had closed vehicle travel across his ranch and hunters had to walk a whole mile to reach their favorite slaughter ground. There were a couple of articles about killing coyotes so that hunters would have an easier time killing their game; but, there was not one single mention of conserving habitat or species for any purpose other than killing them.

            Collaboration with hunters? I don’t know if it can work. It seems you might just get infiltrated.

    • avatar Barb says:

      There is a “Mike” that lives in the Chicago area that has posted here.

  12. avatar Rancher Bob says:

    The debate is a hard one to tackle, currently Montana is in a tough spot what is enough and what is too much? Currently the state is being told-
    It needs more wilderness, a buffer zone around both national parks, and a corridor from Yellowstone to the Yukon. Higher wolf and grizzly populations.
    Stop hunting or even shooting, stop grazing public lands, stop the mega loads, drilling, mining, digging coal and the spread of people.
    Eastern Montana should be vacated and fences removed for the deer and bison.
    I’m sure I left some out but you get the picture and have a good day.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey