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Comment Archives: stories: News: Opinion

Re: “No quit

I copied and e-mailed this piece to Gloria Flora, the then Forest Supervisor of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, briefly mentioned in the article. Below is part of her reply.

Gloria took a lot of heat for that decision. For once, the extractive industries didn't get what they demanded. Not long after that, Gloria was transferred to Nevada as Supervisor of the Humbolt-Toyabe National Forest (a "disciplinary promotion", I think, because she dared to rock the boat).

Again, she ran afoul of the local bumpkins, when she had the temerity to close the last approximately mile of a dead end road to protect bull trout habitat. They raised hell and tore out the closure gate and threatened Forest Service personnel. Like the BLM in the Cliven Bundy case, the forestry circus backed down and refused to prosecute. Gloria was thrown overboard by her superiors in the circus, both U.S. senators (Harry Reid and the other at the time: Bryan or Bryant, I think his name was), and the U.S. attorney for Nevada. Thoroughly fed up, unsupported, disgraced, and no doubt disillusioned, Gloria resigned for the forestry circus, moved back to Montana, and founded the non-profit, Sustainable-Obtainable-Soutions (S-O-S)

I digressed. Here's an excerpt from Gloria's reply to my e-mail :

"We were never able to get the final leaseholders in the Badger-Two Medicine (B2M) to sell their leases, like we did on the rest of the Front. The B2M is the 130,000 acre northern piece of the RMF, adjacent to the Blackfeet Reservation. It is not covered by any protective status in the Heritage Act because the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council at the time was imploding and in general, the Blackfeet feel the B2M was stolen from them and they want it back. They fear any designation which may prevent that, thus are against wilderness designation and anything that smacks of it. However, they don’t want it developed, so after 20 years of work, we have been able to get the entire B2M designated as eligible for listing as a Traditional Cultural District.

"That said, we’re now supporting the FS and USDA in a court case promulgated by a leaseholder demanding to be allowed to drill in the B2M. He’s being represented by none other than the Mountain States Legal Foundation which has spawned the likes of James Watt and Gale Norton. So it ain’t over yet.

"One important note to conservationists everywhere. Pay attention to the designation of Conservation Management Area – it’s essentially the standards imposed by the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. We cap motorized use to the existing miles of open trail or road – after we ensured we got a really good travel plan. Pieces can be moved but miles not increased. This is a way to actually protect roadless areas (in perpetuity if you get it into law) but at a standard less than wilderness (mountain bikes, chain saws, etc. are allowed) with allowance for thinning or restoration work within ¼ mile of existing roads. We’re exploring using this designation in Forest Plans....CMA’s may be a backstop for WSA’s which are going to come under strong attack in MT (Daines has already indicated he wants them all released) and likely other states. No time to waste making sure we don’t let these lands drift back into exploitation."

Posted by alf on 01/24/2015 at 1:32 PM

Re: “Money talks

It's very unfortunate that candidates not supported by this legal firm will most likely not be elected.

I'd like a detailed expose on this firm, and I'd like it on the front cover of an upcoming Independent.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Greg Strandberg on 01/22/2015 at 11:50 AM

Re: “The more you know

Ignoring the philosophical justifications for an end user to have control of the basic requirements for sustaining their own life (in this case the end user is the Missoula community), tying the ultimate value of condemnation to a finite and arbitrarily determined 20 year bond measure is short-sided. The true value of Missoula owning its water supply needs to be weighed against community health/welfare benefits via improved quality standards and averaged over endless successive generations of the city's residents.

Butte-Silverbows water rate increase seems to have been community determined rather than imposed by some greedy profiteer. An increase in rates will not only allow infrastructure and water quality upgrades in a more timely manner, but also enable the municipality to better address inevitable and unexpected problems when they arise because of reserved funding. This is the opposite of private industry which weighs the economic value of any maintenance or emergency response against quarterly profit margins.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jess Dafax on 01/18/2015 at 12:45 PM

Re: “The more you know

When Butte-Silverbow purchased their water system from Dennis Washington, their first thing they did was raise rates. Missoula will be no different. Raise rates or raise property taxes.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by David on 01/16/2015 at 9:34 PM

Re: “The more you know

Yeah, niam, we went through that on my website months ago:…

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Greg Strandberg on 01/16/2015 at 11:22 AM

Re: “The more you know

Montana Codes Annotated 2-16-616. Form of recall petition.…

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by niam on 01/16/2015 at 11:06 AM

Re: “The more you know

Numbers don't matter to Mayor Engen, and he's calling the shots. There are only two numbers that can stop him: 2017, which is when he's out of office, or 11,000, which is the number of signatures needed to recall him.

Anyone want to draw up the petition to recall? It takes a lawyer.

4 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Greg Strandberg on 01/15/2015 at 9:40 AM

Re: “Sickening stance

I'm just certain you all know the facts....and voted for Obama twice.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Tony Hill on 01/12/2015 at 11:07 PM

Re: “Sickening stance

Funny, Knudsen is able bodied but still happily accepts hundreds of thousands of dollars in Federal handouts (farm subsidies) and thousands and thousands of dollars in government healthcare. Maybe Knudsen should be a man of conviction and refuse all of HIS government welfare handouts and get a second job to pay for them himself.

29 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Kevin Curtis on 01/09/2015 at 9:05 AM

Re: “Sickening stance

Could we talk about why so many people continue to vote against their own best interests? What, exactly, has to happen for people to finally figure out that republicans don't care about the common folk, don't understand the issues and haven't figured out what it's really like out here in the real world. Throw the bums out.

25 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by ol' az hippie chick on 01/08/2015 at 11:53 PM

Re: “Sickening stance

Montana seems to be getting more and more like Idaho every day. And Knudsen seems to be a carbon copy of our recent house speaker, Lawrence "Boss" Denney

16 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by alf on 01/08/2015 at 1:32 PM

Re: “Sickening stance

Good point—thanks for correcting me. I think we can all agree that those not able-bodied people should get jobs, too.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Dan Brooks on 01/08/2015 at 11:19 AM

Re: “Sickening stance

"You don’t make too much money for Medicaid without getting a job." While I appreciate this article's attempt to explain Medicaid expansion and who it would benefit, that statement is untrue. If you're 62-64 and receiving SSI you CAN make "too much money" to qualify for Medicaid but not be old enough to qualify for Medicare. On top of that, you could be suffering from a "temporary disability" (a disability that could be made better with surgery and extensive treatment, but causes severe pain and mobility limitations and makes working very difficult) which doesn't qualify you for SSDI and Medicare. This is the nebulous space some Montanans occupy, and they're only recourse is patience, hoping their bodies hold out long enough for them to qualify for Medicare.

16 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by BluHeron on 01/08/2015 at 11:07 AM

Re: “Winter flow

Beavers do this to our streams at no cost to taxpayers, yet beaver are trapped to make a few bucks on their plews/pelts. Several years ago the Bitterroot National Forest was spending hundreds of thousands dollars to do road restoration to keep sediment out of Rye Creek, an impaired watershed, and at the same time they ordered that several beaver be trapped out of Rye Creek. Admittedly, the free work by beaver does not add to the Gross National Product, but the scenario is still senseless. By building "infiltration galleries" beaver help store water underground which then feeds the surface stream water during late season low flows when fish and farmers need it most. Surface ponds and lakes lose about 3 feet of water per year to evaporation around here. Underground water storage does not lose to evaporation. As the climate becomes warmer and drier I hope beaver become recognized as worth more for their busy work than for their fur.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Larry Campbell on 12/31/2014 at 10:08 AM

Re: “Tough lessons

Mix it up/Twist it up/ Make this world your own---
Birds and bees/ And Forest trees/ Are looking for a home ---
The one that's passed/ Is fading fast/ In deserts do we trust ---
Do you believe/the corporate creed / of capital or bust? [X]

No Compromise/ No Compromise/ In defence of Mother Earth/ No alibis/ No Corporate lies/ Defend your planet First!

Resource pollutions/ In thicker solutions/ Genetic twists and turns ---
Strip the Earth bare/ With toxical flair/ As your home and grassland burns ---
Add to your cancer/ Your cash necromancer/ Demanding what you want ---
Let someone else care/ Just bury it there/ Forever in your haunt [X]

No Compromise/ No Compromise/ In defence of Mother Earth/ No alibis/ No Corporate lies/ Defend your planet First!


Quota concessions/ For temporal posessions/ Unearthly patina ---
No one to fix/ And no parlor tricks, nor/ Deus ex machina---
Wealthy egress/ Are the souls in distress?/ Will lixivium* be free? ---
Interlaced sells/ We make our own hells/ And which molecules will be

No Compromise/ No Compromise/ In defence of Mother Earth/ No alibis/ No Corporate lies/ Defend your planet First!

Posted by Robert Strong on 12/28/2014 at 9:45 AM

Re: “The terrorists won

On one of the national news shows the other day, they interviewed a guy who said he felt he had "a patriotic duty" to see the movie. Is that and yellow magnetic ribbons on the back of our vehicle all that "patriotism" means in this country any more. ? Is that what it's degenerated into ?

Posted by alf on 12/27/2014 at 12:23 PM

Re: “Tough lessons

Way back in the day, I worked for the FS, one of the first three women on a fire crew in the St. Maries Ranger District (I was the "big" one, at a whopping 5'4", and the only one who made it through, the other two were stationed in Clarkia, and moved to the brush crew . . .) It was the last year for the Calder work center, and after we inventoried, most of the stuff was hauled off and buried! We're talking things like garden hoses, tools, chainsaws . . . They had to use up each year's "stuff" budget whether they needed it or not, or they might get a lower amount next year when they did need more . . . so went the thinking.
When the St. Maries and Avery Districts were combined, folks in the Avery District kept feeding me info. (I was writing at that point), info they weren't ALLOWED to say themselves. All our points were valid, not the least of which was that the Avery station was actually in the forest, but politics won, and now that entire forest is administered from St. Maries, outside the boundaries of the St. Joe Ranger District. The decision was a slow death sentence for the town of Avery, as well.
I found the same thing as Susan, great people, some of them very dedicated to their job - suffocating hierarchy, and politics, politics, politics at the top. I usually feel compelled to defend the folks out in the field, and blame congress (don't we all) for the rules that change with the political expediency of the times.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Liz Codoni on 12/27/2014 at 11:04 AM

Re: “Tough lessons

They also pander to trappers and hunters!

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Cj Rolphe on 12/24/2014 at 5:02 PM

Re: “Tough lessons

I have worked with the USFS in my two private business operations, cultural resources and wilderness outfitting and I have shared many of Susan's experiences. One thing is for sure, if you "cross" an official, it will permeate throughout the whole outfit… and the grudge will go on forever.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by joe on 12/24/2014 at 2:40 PM

Re: “Tough lessons

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm ex forestry circus, but not a retiree. I bailed out after only about 12 or 15 years.

I've known the author for over 30 years, and I like and respect her immensely. She's a very smart and multi-talented woman.

My take : I absolutely despise the damn forestry circus and its institutional amorality and hypocrisy. Like virtually all federal agencies, it's morphed into little more than a facilitator and apologist for industry.

The forestry circus and BLM pander to the logging, ranching, and mineral and oil and gas industries; the Federal Aviation Administration to the airline industry; the Federal Highway Admin, to heavy "dirt" contractors; the Defense Department to the military-industrial complex; FDA to Big Pharma; and so on and on and on.

Like Susan, I remain loyal to the principles and ideals on which it was founded, but the agency has been compromised and it's lost it's way.

And BTW, I just finished reading A Hunger for High Country about a week ago. It's a darn good read. I highly recommend it.

8 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by alf on 12/24/2014 at 1:42 PM

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