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Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

Creative writing sure makes fiction fun, especially by the hand of a gifted author. Translating similar forms of hyperbole and exaggeration to non-fiction and political matters fails miserably, especially when readily available references exist, despite the talent of the writer. Unfortunately the Independent editors avoided reading this cover article or have abandoned the practice of fact checking before publishing.

Posted by Walter Wego on 10/24/2017 at 12:18 AM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

Clinging to 40 year old science, while ignoring current science, is antithetical to scientific reasoning itself. Even Jonkel would have updated his thinking by now, but like a religious zealot, Bass just can't let go, can't assimilate new information into an updated world view. It's downright scary to guess at what other necrotic ideas stuck in his craw since the 1970's might have rotted away the critical thinking faculties that once made his prose legit.

In the four decades since Jonkel published his report, extensive research has been done on the impact of recreation on grizzly bear populations. In Impacts of Human Recreation on Brown Bears (Ursus arctos): A Review and New Management Tool (2016), researchers analyzed 149 peer-reviewed articles and reports related to the subject (many of which were specifically focused on interior populations of grizzly bears, including those in northwest Montana) and then surveyed expert grizzly biologists who were identified from those works. The research indicated that non-motorized trails and hiking were not only very low impact, but 100% of the experts surveyed agreed that hiking trails had no adverse impact on grizzly reproductive rates, 87% agreed that hiking had no adverse impact on grizzly survival rates, and 77% agreed that in many cases these low-impact recreation types actually BENEFITED grizzly populations in a variety of ways:

The potential benefits to bears as a result of recreational activities were (presented by the of Delphi Survey Experts): 1) an increase in conservation or support for bears and habitat through an improved understanding and appreciation of bears (62%); 2) economic benefits with an increase in revenue for local economies (23%); 3) access to prime habitat by females with cubs and subadults where dominant bears avoid humans (23%); 4) areas used for bear-viewing may be protected from bear hunting (15%); 5) enhancement of fish populations for recreational angling may increase the food supply for bears (8%); and 6) the construction of hiking and biking trails open up easy travel paths for bears (8%). 23% of respondents indicated that recreational activities had no benefit to bears.

Reading over this study, the SCIENCE is pretty clear: if Rick wants to protect the Yaak grizzly bears, he'd be most effective by focusing his energy on roads and hunting.

It's interesting that he hasn't. In fact, he seems to come to the defense of both. I bet he drives and hunts there, despite the threat that both pose to the bears. What a hypocrite!

The issue isn't grizzlies, it's sharing.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Richard on 10/23/2017 at 10:06 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

Rick Bass grossly overstates the impacts of PNT hikers traversing the Yaak. We two sexagenarian "lost penitents" camped three nights in the Yaak on our hike following the PNT route through the watershed in mid-June this year. In the whole 55 miles of road and single track walking we saw only two other humans not encased in motor vehicles-- one a local mountain biker with dog and the other a resident working in her yard. We encountered no "herds of wayfarers", powersliding "Yaak pickup bombers", or unhappy U.S. Border Patrol agents. We did step around the biggest pile of grizzly crap we'd ever encountered in the middle of an asphalt road. At those campspots at which we slept in the Yaak watershed we didn't build a single campfire (instead used a butane stove), nor did we leave "messy camps". We'll leave it to others to provide a good estimate of annual thru-hiker numbers but Rick's number of 4000 is likely off by at least an order of magnitude. His estimate of seven nights in passage per hiker is more than twice as long as it took us old geezers. And his estimate of 60,000 campfires a season in the Yaak started by PNT thru-hikers is probably off by a factor of about 1000. Through these and other crazy distortions of the situation it appears that Rick Bass is trying to demonstrate that there's a problem there that doesn't really exist.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Andrea Onken on 10/23/2017 at 3:20 PM

Re: “Missoula show promoter: XXXTentacion "crazy" and a "liability"

Youre also portraying X as the violent one even though he was acting out of self defense and you keep trying to use allegations that havent even been proven true. It just shows how unintelligent you are to try and fry him and youre failing.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Redguard on 10/23/2017 at 3:11 PM

Re: “Missoula show promoter: XXXTentacion "crazy" and a "liability"

Youre so fucking trash its crazy how much you have a hard on hate for X that youll do anything to try and slander his name for your own narrative. Go jump in a woodchipper.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Deepwebdweller on 10/23/2017 at 3:07 PM

Re: “Meet Lisa Triepke, the candidate who wants to unseat John Engen

The indy has always been up on Engen's nuts from the get go. Give a biased interview, get biased responses from an uninformed public. I too was confused by the manner of questioning. The issue here is one of future taxes and fiscal responsibility. The current mayor spends money like an Obama clone and he spends it on some doozies. If you like runaway spending and crony capitalism, hail to King Johnny. Triepke wants to pump the brakes on this hyper-liberalism. Term limits, anyone?

Posted by Anthony Cox on 10/23/2017 at 1:31 AM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

This article is painful to read. As a graduate student studying Pacific Northwest Trail thru-hikers, it's come to my knowledge that Rick has been picking up hikers and finding them on the trail that he claims is so bad just so that he can lecture them with this phony argument. No tact, an article full of elitism and arrogance.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Taylor Cole on 10/22/2017 at 7:44 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

As tempting as it is to call out the hypocrisy of some comments as well as Rick's own presentation of the information, for me it comes back to this: will the continued development and use of the PNT have a positive impact on the Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bear population?

I find one wordy commenters unfounded assertion that it most definitely will suspect at best. My amateur understanding of the science being that almost any regular human activity in core habitat alters bear usage and even reproduction potential. Road density and use inarguably have a greater impact but I have yet to see the evidence supporting condensed human foot traffic as a proliferating force on grizzly populations, no matter what the ecological or political leanings of those people might be. Contrary to that would be anecdotal observations of grizzly populations in the relatively trail dense Bob Marshal (by Montana standards); although clearly not an exact parallel in regards to the particulars of landscape, users, or bear population (and isolation).

But, what the hell do I know?...here's what Jonkel and McMurray actually recommended in 1978, and although recommendations for how to respond to an individual bear encounter grew with more evidence, I'll stick with the rest of their recommendations:

https://pnwtrail.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/1pntgrizbears.pdf

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by T Harp on 10/22/2017 at 3:24 PM

Re: “XXXTentacion is off the Adams Center's Halloween Lit Party bill

A Google search told me this man's net worth is $200,000. I was glad to see it wasn't in the millions. Who pays to listen to this trash?

Posted by Greg Strandberg on 10/22/2017 at 11:49 AM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

This is a load of crap. The trail would be a boost to a neglected place in Montana. It could use the impact of a few folks going through. You want to worry about something. How about the major highway going through Bad Rock Canyon to supply faster, ruder outsiders to Glacier National Park to see a Grizz or an Elk etc. Big money has been here for about 15 years now. Hotels are being built, campgrounds have doubled in size, a New bridge and campground to house 100s of motor home spots and cabins just inside the West Glacier entrance. I've not seen a grizz in over 8 years. Where I had hundreds of Elk in my yard in the spring, I've got nothing. All ancient trails have been desimate

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Patrick Ford on 10/22/2017 at 11:33 AM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

Rick Basss deceptive cover article reads like Fake News. I urge your editors to seek out the truth from the conservationists at the Pacific Northwest Trail Association [pnt dot org]. And since Rick again describes me as a wilderness destroyer, I urge everyone to read the Rick Bass chapter in my 2011 OSU Press memoir, Pathfinder.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ronald Strickland on 10/22/2017 at 8:22 AM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

Rick Bass's rambling, deceptive article again portrays me as a wilderness destroyer. But merely repeating lies does not make them true. I urge you to get the facts from the conservationists at the Pacific Northwest Trail Association. And I urge your readers to read the Rick Bass chapter in my 2011 OSU Press memoir, Pathfinder.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ronald Strickland on 10/22/2017 at 8:05 AM

Re: “Carlyle tries (again) to force release of the city's Mountain Water legal bills

Why would the city want to hide from the voters how much it paid in attorney fees?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Quentin Rhoades on 10/21/2017 at 8:52 PM

Re: “Art and a-holes: When to say no, from Harvey Weinstein to XXXTentacion

that retard garret is kinda onto something even though he says X is a talentless hack which tells me has probably only listened to look at me or doesnt know shit about him like you. I hate pieces of shit like you and hope you and your family are fucking killed in a tragic accident. You make a story based without any evidence and youre obviously biased. Show us evidence about X you also said his girlfriend is pregnant. She isnt but youre a scumbag who doesnt care about the truth youre trying to rile other idiots up. Go do us all a massive favor and go blow your brains out.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Deepwebdweller on 10/21/2017 at 12:01 AM

Re: “A new Missoula business offers curbside compost pickup

Is the city hiring to run that program? I would love to move back to Missoula to run a composting program.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mason Gem on 10/20/2017 at 8:46 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

RICK BASS, THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST TRAIL, AND HIS YAAK DELUSION

In his recent opinion piece in the Missoula Independent, Rick Bass intentionally makes a series of errors, widespread smears, and outright untruths about the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) as it winds (yes, winds Rick, more on that later). Basss oppositional rhetoric to the PNT even disinters the ghost of famed grizzly bear researcher Chuck Jonkel to give a shine of credibility to his self-indulgent diatribe.

First things first, I am a lifelong wilderness advocate and grizzly bear proponent, with longer than Basss time in Montana since he moved from his native Texas. I relish the presence of the great bruin in large wild places, but I also believe that wilderness has to be experienced to be appreciated and valued by society. Bass seems to think that he belongs to the small, entitled Yaak Yacht Club that is blessed with self-granted access to the wild of upper Yaak, and he apparently loathes others enjoying and recreating his adopted backyard. The entire article smacks of wilderness elitism that seems to come from the recent arrivals to Montana as they seek to close the gate behind them on the way in.

The Pacific Northwest Trail was designated by Congress in 2009 as one of Americas 11 National Scenic Trails. It is a validation of conservation movement as it creation definitely aids in protecting the very grizzly habitat that Bass and I deeply care about.

Basss first salvo of propaganda comes from his characterizing the PNT as a recreational hellhole, a rogue, unapproved 1,200-mile spur trail to the much-trampled Pacific Crest Trail. Lets address the spur trail allegation. The PNT almost entirely follows existing trails and roads that already provide mobility in the Yaak (see the maps at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/pnt/maps-publications ). It is not being bulldozed in, it is simply a route utilizing existing US Forest Service infrastructure. Bass falsely states that The Pacific Northwest Trail Association (PNTA) drew a ruler through the upper Yaak to create the PNT route. If one were to spend more than a moment looking the actual maps of the route, you would see that the trail winds through Yaak using existing trails and roads. The proposed trail goes through the heart of roadless country? By following existing roads and trails (and yes the occasional off-trail excursion) does not invalidate the concept of roadless areas. Bass is quite deceptive in creating the illusion of new infrastructure that tears ass through the middle of the Yaaks prime grip habitat. Bass double-downs on his straight-line trail falsehood again by writing, the idea of a thru-hiking trail, an endurance-jock human highway, a zone of disturbance 1,000 feet wide, running in a straight line from Glacier National Park to the Pacific Coast.

This brings us to Basss naked intolerance for others using his wilderness. He has somehow absolved himself of any impact in Yaak Valley, yet he collects firewood, drives the roads, hunts wild game that could feed many a bear, and lives in a home. His own ecological impact on the Yaak is much higher that of some hiker that spends a couple of days in the area. In this piece, he repeatedly characterizes to hikers as jocks, bloggers (yeah Rick, hikers cant write), and polluters on an industrial scale. The truth is hikers are by-and-large extremely conservation-mined and vocal, effective advocates for wild places around the globe.

Now enter into the world of math magic by Bass where he simply pulls numbers out of thin air and molds them to bolster his own argument. Lets consider his dubious reasoning;

Lets say a modest average of 4,000 thru-hikers per season pass through, spending a week or more, crossing the upper Yaak. Thats more than 30,000 user-nights, a potential 60,000 campfires.

First, the modest 4,000 hiker number is completely plucked from a fevered imagination. The other popular thru-trail in the western United States is Pacific Crest Trail. It follows the Pacific coastal mountains from California, through Oregon, and terminating in Washington, and it received 5,657 permitted thru-hikers last year. Of that number, only 707 actually completed the entire route. It is improbable that the isolated PNT would ever see numbers even remotely close to those levels.

Second, the PNT route has a total mileage of roughly 45 miles from Gypsy Meadows in the east to the Idaho border. Thru-hikers have to make time as they have a vast distance to travel before the season changes in order to complete the complete thru-hike. You actually think that they will average one week to travel 45 miles on existing trails and roads through the Yaak when they need to cover 1,200 miles in the short season?

And finally, his absolute bullshit 60,000 campsites based on the erroneous 30,000 user-nights. First, have you ever lit two campfires every night on any of your hiking trips? The answer for this kid is a resounding HELL NO! And almost every hiker that would ever dream to undertake an endeavor like the challenging PNT would not have any inclination to create a campfire every goddamn night. Rick, ever heard of a backpacking stove or packaged meals?

However, Bass is not without a heart for the plight of the hiker and our government agencies. He seems to be deeply concerned with the workload of the US Border Patrol. I cant imagine the U.S. Border Patrol is too happy about the route, he speculates. Are you kidding me? He wants to exclude people from the Yaak because of its proximity to the United States/Canada border because border securitythat is absolutely laughable and completely unfounded.

Basss final indignity is creating the oh-so-convenient myth of the lost, garbage-lobbing hikers. But this current wandering dusty stream of lost penitents, leaving messy camps, is neither legal, acceptable nor necessary. He inflates the number of lost hikers to encompass all thru-hikers in his mind while completely ignoring that almost all hikers religiously apply Leave No Trace ethics to their campsites, which are almost always existing spots. Legal? It is illegal to hike, Mr. Bass? Where in the recesses of your mind did you come up with the idea that it is against the law to hike through your precious backyard? He even seems to think that the publishing of the route maps is somehow encouraging and abetting illegal use. This language that would make any jailhouse lawyer proud.

So, does Bass have any enlightened, Solomon-like wisdom to resolve the vaguely perceivable conflict between the PNT and grizzly bear habitat in the Yaak? His solution to simply recommend that the PNT go through someone elses backyard. He constructs one straw-man argument after another to preserve his own personal aesthetic of the Yaak Valley, a vast wilderness available only to the select, privileged few (and imagine that he is among them).

And one more thing, if Rick Bass is so concerned about over-use the Yaak, why has he made a career of popularizing the area to his massive readership? Words contained in the Book of the Yaak and Winter have surely intrigued many of the hikers seeking to travel the Pacific Northwest Trail, and yet, he fails to recognize his own influence.

15 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Radd Icenoggle on 10/20/2017 at 8:45 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

Great article, really well researched! I think the use of profanity was really clever too. From one Rick to another, I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling - I gotta make you understand - I'm never gonna run around and desert you.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Rick on 10/20/2017 at 8:15 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

I used to respect Rick Bass for his writing but this rambling piece is deeply flawed, starting with the title! Unauthorized route? An act of Congress created the route of the PNT through the Yaak. I just don't understand why he would risk his reputation by publishing this kind of fake news.

16 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Fred on 10/20/2017 at 7:46 PM

Re: “Gerald's Game serves its hair-raising purpose

I hope you were assigned to review this and that it wasn't a free choice of your time. I'd rather you review an oldie and goodie one.

Posted by Janet Abbey on 10/20/2017 at 6:22 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

This article is a joke. I have hike the pnt twice and the less than 100 hikers that attempt this trail respect the woods. The only time I see trash is when the trail is a dirt road. I have spent 125 days on this trail and have not had a single fire.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by billy on 10/20/2017 at 5:16 PM

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