Matthew Koehler 
Member since Jul 27, 2009

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Is going to shine some light on Senator Tester's bill:

Updated on December 16, 2009 at 5:38 PM



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I grew up in the rural Wisconsin village of Elkhart Lake, in Sheboygan County, surrounded by dairy farms and the Kettle Moraine State Forest. I've… More »

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Re: “Hot pursuit

The nation's leading expert on fire behavior in the "Wildland-Urban Interface" also works at the Missoula Fire Lab of the U.S. Forest Service.

While Jack Cohen wasn't included in this feature article, I'd encourage people to check out these important videos featuring his lifetime of research. Suffice to say, some of the rhetoric about wildfires you hear coming from politicians or the timber industry, especially related to protecting homes and communities, doesn't match up with the actual science and research of the experts.

Fire Behavior in the Wildland/Urban Interface…

Wildfire! Preventing Home Ignitions…

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 08/11/2016 at 11:48 AM

Re: “Not if but when

For whatever reason Darby/Sula District Ranger Eric Winthers seems to be spreading a lot of misinformation about the timeline of the Westside Project. His numerous comments in recent news article claiming that the USFS was literally days or weeks away from starting the project before the human-caused fire started in the middle of a hot, windy, dry summer day are directly contradicted by official statements made by the Bitterroot National Forest elsewhere.

For example, in this official FAQ sheet from the Bitterroot National Forest about the "West Side Collaborative Vegetation Management Project" the Forest Service clearly states the project was not set to begin until this winter and that implementation would take 5 to 10 years. And that the noncommercial work would most likely occur after the timber sale was completed.

Here's the source: And here's the official U.S. Forest Service response:

"Implementation: When would work begin? When would it end? The project contains several components which would be implemented over a 5-10 year period, most likely beginning the winter of 2016. The timber sale component, including road construction and timber harvesting, would likely occur over 3-4 years. Other proposed activities, including non-commercial thinning, aspen and habitat enhancement, prescribed burning, and road decommissioning, would most likely occur over the next few years following completion of the timber sale."

Also, the lawsuit against the Westside Project was filed by the individuals who owns a home and property directly adjacent to this proposed timber sale is a fascinating read. Also, sounds like the guys who filed the lawsuit are former and current U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers who happen to own a wood products manufacturing company.

The homeowner has made some serious allegations against the U.S. Forest Service, especially concerning the alleged lack of any sort of meaningful 'collaboration' on the part of the U.S. Forest Service. It even appears as if the USFS ignored the property owners initial request for information, which seems amazing considering that the USFS was looking to build a road directly next to his land, if I understand the circumstances correctly.

Anyone can read the lawsuit here:…

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 08/11/2016 at 6:33 AM

Re: “Etc.

Did anyone catch the Montana Public Radio piece on the Northern Rockies Wilderness bill?


"The Montana Wilderness Association declined our invitation for a taped interview." - Montana Public Radio

That pretty much says it all, doesn't it? I mean, with a staff of 24 people, including a beefy communications/PR team, the Montana Wilderness Association couldn't even get on air with Montana Public Radio to let the people of Montana know their opinions about the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, a bill that would essentially protect the remaining roadless wildlands in our region and also protect important wildlife corridors?!?

Fact is, the Montana Wilderness Association these days operates best in the shadows, outside the public eye, where they can control the message, hand-pick the messengers and just host dog-n-pony show events where they know they will never be asked the tough questions or be held accountable.

Of course, one irony here is that the Montana Wilderness Association has been working closely with their "timber partners" from the Montana Wood Products Association and some timber mill owners and managers to dramatically increase logging on America's National Forests in Montana in exchange for some very small pieces of Wilderness protection.

The public can get more detailed information about the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (including detailed maps) here:

It's also worth pointing out that NREPA has 7 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate, while the House version of NREPA, which was re-introduced last year, currently has 37 co-sponsors.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 06/19/2016 at 6:38 AM

Re: “Running aground

Regarding UM's recent financial woes, it's worth remembering that a handful of us in Missoula had to fight tooth and nail to prevent UM (under President Engstrom's watch) from spending $16 million on a boutique wood-burning (and sometimes prone to exploding) biomass plant in the middle of campus, right next to the freshman dorms.

That $16 million wood-burning biomass plant would have cost an another $27 million for additional operation and maintenance expenses over the existing natural gas system during just the first 40 years of operation.

Here more information on that:…

See also "Mendacity at the University of Montana"…

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 06/02/2016 at 11:49 AM

Re: “Hitting the Mark

So, Mark Sweeney "always did his homework when making informed decisions?"

Well, just this week the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices found that Mark Sweeney's 'robo-calls' featuring Amanda Curtis (who, by the way, was pro-KXL pipeline during her campaign for U.S. Senate) violated Montana's campaign rules.


1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 05/26/2016 at 8:22 AM

Re: “Power to the pedal

The following information was sent to me by a concerned public lands advocate and was sourced directly from the Sustainable Trails Coalition website ( on 4/10/2016:

Why Are You Confident This Will Work?

"The political stars are currently aligned in our favor on Capitol Hill.  We will be working with a Republican-controlled U.S. House and Senate that philosophically favor limited government and oppose severe and overzealous regulation, a category that includes the federal-agency regulations prohibiting mountain bikers’ access to wildernesses and other areas."


Looks like the 'Sustainable' Trails Coalition is giddy that "the political stars are currently aligned in our favor on Capitol Hill" because the incredibly anti-environmental, anti-public lands, anti-environmental GOP 'oppose severe and overzealous regulations,' which apparently includes a ban on mechanical transport (including bikes) in designated Wilderness Areas. Will the 'Sustainable' Trails Coalition also support the hundreds of other ways the GOP-controlled Congress would like to undermine supposedly 'overzealous regulations' that deal with all facets of our daily lives?

If you care about the future of America's public lands and our Wilderness areas, please ask yourself what environmentally-minded person or group or true supporter of America's public lands and Wilderness areas would actually claim that the current GOP-controlled Congress should be celebrated because the 'political stars are aligned.'

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 04/12/2016 at 9:06 AM

Re: “Wilderness

See also:

Some History:…

Why the Congress Shouldn’t Open Our Wilderness Areas for Mountain Bikes:…


"The half dozen bikers leading this have been trying to wedge their way into wilderness areas for years. I’ve met them and contended with them; they are impervious to facts. In a recent report in Outside magazine, they argue that “mountain biking was in its infancy, back in 1984, when the Forest Service revised its regulations, banning not only motorized transportation in Wilderness areas, but also ‘mechanical transport …’”

The flaw in their argument is evident if you read subsection 4(c) of the 1964 Wilderness Act:

“except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.” [emphasis added]

The biker argument that the prohibition on “mechanical transport” was introduced in 1984 is obviously silly when you find that exact phrase among things prohibited in the 1964 law. As the lawyer among them probably knows, but blithely ignores, the words of a law trump an agency’s interpretation in regulations. In this case, those who wrote the Forest Service regulation simply got it wrong. When they were drafting the original regulations in 1965, these western wilderness area administrators could not imagine a bicycle in the mountainous wilderness areas they knew. Mountain bikes were not invented until the early 1980s."

5 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 03/31/2016 at 2:41 PM

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