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!

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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.

7 Responses to Bill Schneider: What Tester’s Forest Bill Really Does

  1. Ken Cole says:

    I heartily agree Ralph.

  2. monty says:

    Montana is about 145 thousand square miles, existing wilderness areas–including national parks–is around 4 million acres or about 6,250 square miles or about .04% of the state. 10% of the state in wilderness would not be excessive! The Senator was not overly generous

  3. Matt says:

    That’s actually 4.3%, not 0.4%.

  4. Mike says:

    No question about it. This bill sets a very bad precedent.

  5. Virginia says:

    Tester turned out to be a pretty phony Democrat in my opinion! Kind of like Schweitzer (sp) and Freudenthal.

  6. These slimy Democrats sure know how to divide and conquer their environmentalist constituency, don’t they?

    Such is the nature of politics in a country so large.

  7. Tilly says:

    The Missoula Independent has a good article today exposing that the logging will require heavy subsidies.

    The last part of the article focuses on the funding issues. It notes that UM researchers found that “the BDNF is a lodgepole pine dominated forest and some people are skeptical that there is enough economic value in such forests to make stewardship contracting viable on such a massive scale.” Thus, it will probably require massive appropriations.

    What happened to the rugged, self-reliant logger mystique? 😉


July 2009


‎"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

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