Montana Outdoors

October 19, 2007

The balance

There is a balance which exists between mankind’s existence on and use of this Earth, and the ability of the natural world to support such existence and use. We don’t yet know what all of the rules are, or the boundaries and limitations. And yet…

A proposed Congressional Act, The “Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act” (HR 1975), which was designed to preserve much of the last remaining wild and natural country in the Northwest was discussed in the House of Representatives yesterday. The principal arguments against the Act were made by some politicians from a few western states who, under the guise of calling it a territorial dispute, want to retain the right to exploit National Forest System and public lands for the benefit of themselves and their own supporters, entirely disregarding the much larger issue.

We in the west are governed, in large part, by fools.

An A.P. story about yesterday’s discussion in the House may be found HERE

Information about HR 1975 may be found HERE

Information about the current roadless areas which are the areas addressed by the bill can be found HERE. This site will display maps of the roadless areas as road maps, topo maps or satellite maps.

A free printed copy of HR 1975 can be obtained from Congress by calling and requesting it at this phone number: 202-226-5210.

Since Wilderness designation is a big issue, there is an excellent website about wilderness which is a partnership project of the Wilderness Institute at The University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute which may be found HERE


  1. I do support proposals like this, but I also see some merit to the arguments against it. I’m disappointed this proposal wouldnt be supported by the local politicians, but not entirely surprised. 60-70% of the economies in montana/idaho/wyoming is from resource extraction (oil, zinc, copper, forestry, etc…), some of which is done on the lands being discussed – especially forestry. That has a huge impact on local economies in the states being discussed, but probably not enough to stop the economies. Unfortunately it looks to be more of a politics game for the local Politian’s.

    But it would definatly be nice to see the lands in the proposal remain wild, open, & untouched for future generations to see. These vast open lands will only be disappearing as time goes on.


    Comment by Brian — October 19, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

  2. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Brian!

    I guess what bothers me most about the opposition is that they are completely against it, leaving no room for discussion or compromise. I also see many complete untruths in their arguments.

    I have spent a lot of time this summer in and around 7 of the roadless areas incorporated in HR 1975 which are quite close to my home. At this time, there is really no extraction of resources from these areas, so it’s not like HR 1975 would be stopping something that is now happening there. It would simply keep it from happening in the future. I can’t speak for the other areas which I haven’t visited though, although there would be little timber harvest without roads.


    Comment by montucky — October 19, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

  3. Why don’t I find this shocking at all?

    “Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., also blasted the legislation” She originates from florida but says her “home” is in kettle falls. uggggg….. (which like many representatives means she owns a five acre plot of land here with no home on it and lives in Washington D.C. Tip a martini to the news they don’t tell you.)

    I really like the idea of changing the working pool from those who are paid to destroy the forest and those who are paid to restore it. Lord knows we’ve done enough damage.

    It’s ironic I think; we are “dependent” upon natural resources in the same way we are dependent upon oil. We’ve got the president standing up telling us that our addiction to oil needs to change – but nothing on wood, mining, etc… Fundamentally it’s the same thing.

    Hopefully we can alter that perspective.


    Comment by aullori — October 19, 2007 @ 3:03 pm

  4. It kind of puts a new importance on the word “conservation”, doesn’t it?


    Comment by montucky — October 19, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

  5. Without greed, I wonder if conservation would be that difficult to achieve…or desire.


    Comment by Pinhole — October 19, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

  6. Pinhole, you’ve tagged it! Without greed, most of these issues would go away or greatly diminish.


    Comment by montucky — October 19, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  7. Terry…You need to take a trip to the Capital and take a few of these guys fishing for a week, show them the beauty of the place, and maybe that would change their mind 🙂


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — October 19, 2007 @ 9:01 pm

  8. The problem is, Bernie, the only thing most of these guys think is beautiful is green and folds up to go in their wallets. With about 90% of the rest of the population, your idea would work.


    Comment by montucky — October 19, 2007 @ 9:14 pm

  9. Some folks treat the environment the way they treat their own extravagent usage of credit cards–as though there’s no tomorrow when all the debts will come due.



    Comment by knightofswords — October 20, 2007 @ 9:23 am

  10. That’s a good way to put it. Instant gratification at any cost. Bankruptcy though is a tool for credit card debt, but for environmental debt, that would be a terrible thing!


    Comment by montucky — October 20, 2007 @ 10:16 am

  11. I am a snowmobliler, and as a snowmobiler, we all want as much possible access to our backcountry as possible. All the snowmobilers I know clean up, rebuild, and improve the trails. What good are the backcountries to us if our future generations can’t even access them. Of course I don’t want people taking over the woods because that limits our riding. Why can’t we conbine our forces and help keep these politicians from the east coast from running our backcountry?


    Comment by Trent Mortensen — November 2, 2007 @ 9:24 pm

  12. Thanks for stopping by, Trent!

    I think the answer to motorized sports is in moderation. There is a serious impact on wildlife in the back country by snowmobiles or any other OHV use. Clearly there must be limits.

    The back country of concern in HR1975 does not belong solely to those of us who live in the west. It is Federal land, owned equally by all U.S. citizens no matter where they live, and therefore the concern by the sponsors of the bill is legitimate, even though they live in the east. In fact, from a political standpoint, conservation efforts concerning western lands probably have to come from outside the area because the local politicians seem to be more motivated to exploit them to curry favor with their financial benefactors.


    Comment by montucky — November 2, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  13. The land may belong to “everyone,” but they come over for a week or so, get sick of all restrictions, then can leave. We, on the other hand, have to put up with it all year around. You are right that OHV have a minor impact on wildlife, but so do the aircraft taking off, so do people who drive up the roads with binoculars to try to see this wildlife! The moment that you see someone chasing a mountain lion or grizzly bear on a sled, you beat the crap out of them for me, but I am sick of these people talking about how “fragile” the endangered species are! Fish and Game set up hair snags to tag grizzly bears up here by Whitefish expecting to snag a few hundred max, they stopped counting after over 800. We have soud restrictions, our oils are all biodegradable, and everywhere we ride, the “frail” ecosystem is burried in 6 feet of snow! There can be land restrictions, but do you see how much they are trying to close off! There will be nowhere left within 2 hours to ride. I also hunt and fish, so with no road access, we can’t access the places to hunt! If we want to restrict mining, logging, and others, then that is ok, to a certain extent, but no one can enjoy it if they can’t access it. Also, when we had the Moose creek fire a few years ago, they wouldn’t let them log the dead, standing timber, and guess what, its still there, only now its on the ground waiting for the next spark to come and light the big one! I’m sorry I get so wrapped up in it, but it makes me mad when people come in and try to stop us from doing what I, and MANY OTHER PEOPLE enjoy so much and live in Montana, to do! It just seems simple to me.


    Comment by Trent Mortensen — November 4, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

  14. Trent,

    I understand some of your frustrations and appreciate your attitude and opinion, particularly in the area of logging the burned areas (depending on exactly how it would be done). I don’t, however, see in this bill specifically, the access restrictions that you anticipate, and it’s only this bill, HR 1975 that I am talking about. It addresses specifically the current “roadless” inventory, which even now has no roads into it. The bill itself is not intended to close any of the existing accessed areas. I edited the post above and added a link to “The Roadless Area Database”, which is a website that displays maps of the existing roadless areas. You might find it interesting and informative.

    I’m reading HR 1975 for about the fourth time, and I don’t see where it advocates restrictions to lands other than these areas. If you see something there, please point it out to me.


    Comment by montucky — November 5, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

  15. Montucky,

    I have seen multiple maps on this issue, and all the maps say that HR 1975 will close a LOT of areas that already have roads into them! The South Fork, the Middle Fork, the North Fork, and thats just some of it in the Flathead Valley. If you show me a map that says otherwise, I would feel alot better. These freakin greenies tried pulling this over us a couple years ago! And it passed, but luckily, with the quick response of fellow snowmobilers, hunters, and other rec. riders, we were able to overturn the decision. I don’t ride on trails, I ride in the back country so most of those areas don’t have roads into them! I just don’t think jumping up and calling it Wilderness is right.


    Comment by Trent Mortensen — November 6, 2007 @ 9:11 am

  16. So very soon it is all coming to a head.


    Comment by Todd Wood — April 28, 2009 @ 12:08 am

    • The way things are going, it won’t be long one way or the other.


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2009 @ 7:17 am

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