Right wing Ravalii County, MT Comissioner claims wolves ruining quality of life in area

Suzy Foss, one of far right majority on commission, says local folks fear for their children playing outside-

The Ravalli County, Montana, Commission dominated by right wingers in this sub-division riddled part of the Bitterroot Valley has been  fanning hysteria to divert attention from their collusion with subdividers, their anti-conservation ethic, and their religious pushiness, trying to impose sectarian religious notions on others.

Ravalii County Commissioner Suzy Foss has written a letter to  letter to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks director Joe Maurier, the five-member FWP Commission and Gov. Brian Schweitzer listing a host of claims of bad things wolves are supposedly doing the Bitterroot Valley. She alleges a multiple of problems caused by wolves going so far as saying cattle ranches “are going under.”

Story from the Missoulian. Sept. 14, 2011

Foss, who like so many anti-wolf activists doesn’t seem to be a Montana native, owns a ranch with her husband, Lee own south of Hamilton. Their property has been the subject of complaints from eight of their neighbors for growing noxious weeds. The Foss’s refused to comply with county policy on weed control. Ravalli County Weed District coordinator Kellieann Morris said their property harbors 8 kinds of noxious weeds, but the Foss’s refused to divulge their plans to the county weed board to control the weeds despite the complaints. Story.  The Bitterroot Valley has long suffered from weed infestation, but in recent years had been making some progress battling them. Lee Foss is also owner of Foss Realty.

Suzi Foss was also part of a three person majority on the commission to make the chair of the Ravalli County Republican Party the county planning director. Story. A number of previously turned down subdivisions were then quickly approved. Foss was a leader in a narrow majority (53%) to repeal the county’s “Smart Growth” policy during the last election. The result has been no controls on subdivisions.

Foss ran on a platform opposed to family planning and was one of two votes to unsucessfully defend the family planning clinic because she didn’t like birth control.

Reading the local news media, there seems to be some movement to have a recall election.  Injecting fear of the big bad wolf may be part of the right wingers tactics to divert attention from their selfish, wildlife unfriendly, greedy agenda.

These reported facts about the commissioners are never brought out by the local media when they report about the supposedly troublesome wolves the commission says inhabit the margins of the area, which is on the edge of one of America’s greatest wilderness areas — the Selway-Bitterroot, and other nearby wilderness, roadless areas, and scenic, wildlife rich public lands.

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Update Sept. 15: From further research and comments, the real thing of interest and concern is how extremists moved into Bitterroot Valley and took over. Creeping fascism is the real story in the area, not wolves.



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  1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Gotta love good old fashioned Western wolf paranoia.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      One of my ideas is though that a lot of the real crazy anti-wolf stuff like that from Suzi Foss, Bob Fanning, and many others are from people who did not grow up in any of the 3 states with wolves.

      Twenty or thirty years ago, the average folks in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming seemed to be more woodswise and with political convictions that were not so lopsided.

      1. jon Avatar

        Ralph, where is suzi foss from? I noticed a lot of this extreme wolf haters are not even from the states they live in now. Rockholm is from California and Toby Bridges and Bob Fanning are both from Illinois. Bob Fanning is running for Montana governor in 2012. He thinks he will become Montana’s next governor.

        I replied above that she is from southern California. She came to Montana in the mid-1970s. She is about 60 years old. By your 20s, I think you basic orientation toward the outdoors is formed unless you run into someone with a strong interest in the matter who also wants to communicate it.

        1. idagal Avatar

          California. But from the bio information posted on her sites, looks like she’s been in Montana for several decades.

        2. Harley Avatar

          Whoa whoa whoa, Bridges and Fanning are from Illinois?!?

          1. jon Avatar

            Yes, both of them are.

        3. Elk275 Avatar

          Bridges is from Missouri before he came to Montana. I have had several email from him about muzzle loader hunting in Montana during archery season, what a self severing nut case. Then, John you are from Maine and have probably never been to the Northern Rockies.

          1. jon Avatar


            Toby Bridges went to college in Illinois.

            Go to his fb page and it says from Cairo, IL.

            Where I’m from does not matter elk. These loudmouth wolf haters like Bridges, rockholm, Fanning, etc all act like they are born and bred Montanans and Idahoans when they are not. Will you be voting for Fanning for 2012?

          2. jon Avatar

            from toby’s fb page.

            “Since I was old enough (about 3) to tag along with my Dad to fish for catfish in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers near where they converge at Cairo, IL, I’ve been a very outdoor oriented person. So much so, most of my adult life, personally and professionally, have revolved around living and working in the outdoors. In one way or another, I have been associated with the shooting, hunting and sport fishing industry since 1972. And I still actively work with several companies in that industry. One of my current projects has been to head a wildlife advocacy effort known as LOBO WATCH – which keeps the spotlight burning on the wolf problem that is spreading across the Continental United States.”

          3. Harley Avatar

            hmm. So does that mean that if I decide to move to, oh, say Arizona for my retirement, that I don’t have a say in what happens in that state since I wasn’t born there? I’m just curious is all. I mean if these people grew up elsewhere but they now call these places home, why wouldn’t they want to have a say or get involved with where they are now? I’m just curious, I’m not trying to stir up trouble. Watching Crying Wolf btw. Interesting film…

          4. Immer Treue Avatar
            Immer Treue


            Not an argument, just the other side of the coin.

            Then why do they say for those who have moved into the state, who are pro-wolf, to go back the state from which they came?

            I’m not originally from MN, but I pay taxes there and put money into the local economy. Don’t I have a say?

            Just finished Cry Wolf. For every cogent point in the video, there is another that is ridiculous.

          5. Harley Avatar

            Hey Immer,

            Stop sending us that smoke from the fires! Breathing was horrendous yesterday. How bad is it up there?

          6. Immer Treue Avatar
            Immer Treue

            It’s only bad if you are downwind.

          7. Harley Avatar

            I was thinking if it’s bad here near Chicago, it must be downright miserable up there if you’re downwind.

            Thanks for the insights, appreciate as always your view point.

          8. Harley Avatar

            Thanks for that update Immer. It’s interesting sometimes how we all live in our own little bubble. I never knew there was a pretty big forest fire up in Minnesota until it directly affected me by way of the smoke.

        4. Ralph Maughan Avatar
          Ralph Maughan

          Her bio on-line says her family is from southern California. She moved to Montana after her first marriage ended back in 1975.

          She is about 60 years old.

          1. jon Avatar

            Thanks Ralph. She lived in San Diego, CA before coming to Montana.


      2. SEAK Mossback Avatar
        SEAK Mossback

        The Bitterroot is a bit of a knapweed hell and it would be very difficult to deal with even with just the all the subdivisions and people who have moved in recently thinking they are pretty flowers. Right wing nut cases with attitude and no social conscience owning substantial tracts makes it impossible. Meanwhile, in the Big Hole the 4-H kids are out along the roads yanking up every plant while hundreds of seeds are riding over the pass on vehicles from the Bitterroot.

        1. Nancy Avatar

          Seak – while I didn’t see any 4-H kids pulling weeds this year (or weeds tossed on the roads as in the past) weed control trucks were out in force all summer spraying everything… including sagebrush. Wonder if the hired help takes a class on noxious weeds before heading out?

        2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
          Ralph Maughan

          Seak Mossback,

          These far right wingers have the mentality of driving by a roadside clean up crew and throwing out a pile of trash on the just cleaned right of way. They also go on and on about their individual property rights, but let their noxious weeds spread to the private property of their neighbors as though they didn’t have property rights.

    2. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      right wing or wingnut?

  2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I can’t even imagine anywhere out west without these attitudes.

  3. Mike Avatar

    The Bitterroot National Forest is a wonderful place. But that valley has become a hellhole. I couldn’t believe all the crap on the road from Darby to Missoula this year. The construction project has made it even worse. The people in charge of development in the area made horrific mistakes and they’ve really hurt the quality of life. Those are the people who should take blame, not wolves.

    Going from Glacier to the Bitterroot was a shock, and then conversely down to the areas around Yellowstone. They did it all wrong in the Bitterroot. The area is fortunate to be surrounded by massive national forests.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      Agreed. I am unendingly angry what they did to that beautiful valley.

      I wondered what all this wolf hysteria in the area was about. The local media seems to take it at face value, but reading the local media about the other issues being promoted I developed a hypothesis that this is not about wolves but about a dysfunctional culture, now dominated by realty-challenged people from the far right that lack an ounce of neighborliness. Fear is a way they gain and hold power.

  4. CodyCoyote Avatar

    Nature or nurture?
    Every time I drive south of Missoula up the Bitterroot into Ravalli County, I feel my brain dumbing down, I Q falling with each milepost. It truely is , as other posters have said above me, ” Montana Done Wrong”. The subdivisions and sawmills are evidence of a mentality that befuddles. I also sense this when travelling inc ertain parts of Idaho just over the Divide. Going north from Missoula towards Kalispell and Whitefish is a journey through the more mainstream conservative landscape, with a strong tilt towards libertarian. It’s heavy Ron Paul country . But I do not feel my intelligence waning up thataway. Ravalli County is just plain regressive.

    Speaking of the nascency of one Toby Bridges, I learned here that he grew up near Cairo Illinois ( it’s pronounced kay-ro, like hay row, not like the Egyptian capital kye-ro). When I read that factoid , a lot came clear. Toby emigrated to Montana from the Cape Girardeau Missouri of Mark Twain fame, just north of Cairo, which is at the mouth of the mighty Ohio River .

    The country around Cairo and Pulaski County is my nomination for the Most Lawless Place In America. It is outlaw country ; evil. Back in the 70’s and 80’s I did over 100,000 miles of hitchhiking around America, 44 states’ worth, to learn about and absorb American culture at root level. One of the very few places where I felt like my life could be forfeited for just drawing breath was Cairo Illinois. The prevailing religion thereabouts seemed to be Psychopathy. It was in the air.

    I now understand Toby’s vitriol much more. But that does not excuse him; merely helps explain him. Nature plus Nurture. God help the good people of the Bitterroot country these days.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      I read the Wikipedia entry for Cairo, Illinois, meaning I just barely know something about it 😉

      A long history of violence, prejudice and decline is what came through. The population has declined for generations and much of what was left was evacuated with the Mississippi River flood this year.

    2. SEAK Mossback Avatar
      SEAK Mossback

      Cape Girardeau, Mo. Isn’t that also Rush Limbaugh’s home town? So much B.S. has come out of that place, their water supply must drain right off a stockyard.

      1. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        LOL I think it is. Now that’s funny.

  5. jon Avatar

    This video comes from a friend of Toby Bridges.

    1. CodyCoyote Avatar

      How innane. This video proves absolutely nothing. That’s 3-1/2 minutes I’ll never have back. YouTube is not the Library of Alexandria in modern digital video form…it’s much more a landfill.

      The whole E. tapeworm issue being perpetrated by wolves is a textbook example of negative mass hysteria.

      Air filters collect gunk. Right now there are more non-human cells in your body than human cells, and 30 percent of Americans carry some higher order parasites , most without knowing it. Wolves eat Elk. Get over it. Life goes on.

    2. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue

      Might want to think about some of these too, while he’s at it, either deal with it, change jobs, or live in a bubble.


      1. Rita K. Sharpe Avatar
        Rita K. Sharpe

        Yes,and just think of all those mosquitoes that transmit infectious diseases that kills millons each year.

      2. Harley Avatar

        Thanks Immer, gonna have to buy a hazmat suit now just to feel safe again…

        I kinda shook my head at that video. The only thing I could think of was, isn’t this kind of a stretch? I mean, seriously…

      3. jon Avatar

        Does anyone think that these wolf haters wouldn’t be making a big deal about this tapeworm if it didn’t come from wolves? The fact that the wolf carries this tapeworm is the only reason why they are making a big deal about this tapeworm. The anti-wolf nutties are claiming there are 5 confirmed cases of people getting this tapeworm from wolves in idaho. How do you prove without a doubt that someone got this tapeworm from wolves?

        1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
          Ralph Maughan

          The truth is lots of people have worms of various kinds crawling around inside them. I posted a link the other day on how many different kinds of worms domestic sheep harbor.

          If there are five cases of this particular infestation, they could have gotten it from many sources. This isn’t a new disease. It has always been around at a low level.

  6. catbestland Avatar

    Jon wrote from Toby Bridges fb page:

    “One of my current projects has been to head a wildlife advocacy effort known as LOBO WATCH – which keeps the spotlight burning on the wolf problem that is spreading across the Continental United States.”

    I was unaware that the “wolf problem” was spreading across the Continental United States. I wish it would spread to Colorado. I would be willing to help it spread.


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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