Senator Tester Betrays Montana Wilderness

Brian Peck Excoriates Senator Tester’s “Wilderness” Bill And The “Environmental” Groups Who Support It.

He explains that the “bill would set aside just over 600,000 acres of Wilderness, withdraw current protection from nearly 250,000 acres, and require that 100,000 acres be made available for logging and roading in an already fractured landscape.”

Senator Tester Betrays Montana Wilderness
By Brian Peck, New West Unfiltered 11-03-09



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  1. buck Avatar

    I guess i am at a loss to understand the spin put on this move, the view taken and promoted here is that it is a bad thing that this bill has passed and that it is a betrayal. local folks here in wyoming and montana seem to disagree.
    looking back at the roadless inicitive and eliminating logging of the area has had a profound effect on the area especially concerning the beetle kill of vast amounts of native timber that the grizzlies have used as cover and feeding areas as well as a major food source ( pine nuts)
    not being able to eliminate the beetle kill timber from the ecosystem has proven to be very detrimental to all the species in the area.
    a prime example of this is the east gate to yellowstone park, dont believe me, just ask any local between ynp and cody, seeing is believing.

  2. JW Avatar

    More gov’t welfare for the locals:
    “most of the BDNF has little commercially viable timber, and requires an average subsidy of $1400 per acre to get lumber companies to cut there.”

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Normal logging is by volume, not by acre. This bill mandates logging of 7000 acres a year. Of course, if there are just 3 trees on the 7000 acres, this would be OK.

    What if there is no market for the timber? That’s why the timber industry is hurting in Montana. It’s unfortunate when the senator confuses demand, or the lack thereof, with supply.

    The bill also does nothing to remove livestock in the areas. Beaverhead National Forest roadless area tends to be full of cows and so not really wilderness at all.

  4. Virginia Avatar

    I guess this bill proves the love and respect that Jon Tester and his “conservationist” supporters have for their grizzly bears, wolves, and other wildlife.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Well, I figured out how they can mandate logging of 7000 (11 square miles) a year in a bad economy. The bill does not say timber sale or log. It says “mechanically treat.”

    It will do this in “landscape scale restoration projects.” These projects will include timber sales, if possible, but if not, then apparently just cutting down the trees, many of which are dead, to treat them. I guess this means pile and burn, turn them into sawdust, or some such.

    There are a lot measures authorized to close temporary roads, improve the trail system, improve culverts under roads, and other wise improve fish and wildlife habitat.

    This will take a big infusion of money because there are no guaranteed timber sale receipts.

    If mechanical equipment is used to run all over this landscape and cattle not excluded, it is easy to see the result. It won’t be a new forest, It will be some lodgepole pine regeneration mixed with knapweed and cheatgrass. The cheatgrass will probably start fires that burn the regenerating lodgepole, opening the land permanently for weedlands.

  6. Pronghorn Avatar

    Plus it sets truly bad precedents for the future of the National Wilderness Preservation System–military helicopter landings in Wilderness; motorized access to trail sheep and access water infrastructure…in Wilderness.

  7. jburnham Avatar

    My problems with this bill are threefold.
    1. It perpetuates the idea that we can’t designate Wilderness unless somebody’s making money off the deal somehow. Tester himself goes out of his way not to call it a Wilderness bill, but a logging and forest jobs bill. Now we have to do a kind of quid pro quo; for every acre designated wilderness we have to make sure some other areas are open to development. This is just short sighted and counterproductive.

    2. The bill is full of sloppy language and does an end run around existing laws (NEPA, NFMA, ESA, etc). Even the Wilderness in this bill is watered down. If it passes, these could become precedents used in other bills, making a bigger mess of the already conflicting and confusing set of management laws.

    3. It releases way too many WSA and roadless lands. The majority of these lands should be preserved and permanently protected. We’ve spent lots of time, money and public input in designating them, now we’re just going to release them on the recommendation of this self selected collaboration group?

    Please look closely at the details of this bill. We can do much better.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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