Wild Bill says Rocky Mountain Front has not been saved

Stopping the oil and gas leasing is not enough,  Bill Schneider. New West.

The Forest Service is not protecting the area from off-road vehicles and parts of the Front could fill up with trophy homes.

An ominus sign on the Rocky Mountain Front. Montanans will recognize that is not “Buffalo Hill,” but famous landmark Haystack Butte in the distance. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan




  1. kt Avatar

    If we are going to stop “sprawl”, or protect biological corridors in the West and have some of hope of wildlife having undisturbed winter ranges, we have to stop selling off public lands!

    The same Bill that saved the Rocky Mountain Front almost had CIEDRA attached to it. Ralph has a Post below with an Update on the death of CIEDRA, which promoted sprawl by handing public land over to Custer County Commissioners to sell for trophy homes. And it would have made OHV trails permanent! The Statesman reported that Simpson went to bed thinking CIEDRA was ridered on — but Someone stayed up a bit later and CIEDRA was axed. Who was the Phantom of the Congress? Will we ever know?

    Scotty Philips, a retired Sawtooth National Recreation Area Manager, has been one of the primary opponents of CIEDRA. Here is where we are. Caring retired federal agency folks are battling conservationists to keep them from selling off our land like Pombo tried to do.

    And in the Mountain Express article Ralph links to, we again hear the same tired old argument for why it is ok to make backroom deals to sell of public land. “In Idaho, we’re a Republican Basket Case”.

    Idaho is changing. Races in Idaho in November were competitive. And they might have been a bit more competitive if Simpson, Crapo and other Republicans were NOT being showered with constant complimentary yammering by the Statesman and other editorials on the “careful compromises” made to sell off public lands – and instead these guys had to run on all their BAD envtl votes.

    Plus, we were treated in November to an ICL leader saying he was voting for Simspon because CIEDRA somehow made him a conservationist. At the same time ICL is lamenting Idaho’s Barefoot and Republican status, they are doing all they can to try to keep it that way!

    Time to stop beating these Dead Horse giveaway Bills that cast these politicians in a favorable envtl light. Let’s ask Mr. Simpson, for example, what he is doing to make sure BLM in Challis has enough funding to regulate OHV use in the Malm Gulch ACEC, and all across the broader body of public lands in his home state. That’s how we bring Idaho out of the Cave.

  2. Tristan Howard Avatar
    Tristan Howard

    One of the most effective solutions to stopping urban sprawl would be to reduce human population growth. A balance must be reached sometime. People can’t increase forever. Continual perpuation of people is the biggest problem for the environment, since people are the root of various problems. Of course, lack of education and lack of rational logic are rampant among millions so I suppose disease or war will take care of the problem eventually.

  3. Mike Avatar

    If illegal immigration would stop, the U.S. population wouldn’t grow.

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think sprawl is only slightly related to population growth. It is most tightly related to the seeming low price of gasoline (which is really based on making America dangerously dependent on foreign supplies).

    It is also based on the ideology that developers can do anything they want with their land, and the public has to foot the bill by providing the subdivision public services. That makes far flung development possible, the public getting dragged in to pay for it whether they like it or not.

    Later. I just saw this. It is exactly what I was talking about, a way to stifle land developers who suck the money right out of taxpayer’s wallets.

    Arizona Governor: No water, no rural subdivisions

  5. Alan Gregory Avatar

    I think Ralph has hit on the Achilles heel of developers: the price of gas. But beyond that, as long as gullible homebuyers believe that there is — somewhere — a giant endless nougat of petroleum, the sprawl experiment/disaster will march on. It is the automobile, let’s not forget, that freed people from inner city walkable neighborhoods.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan