Montana FWP seeks public comment on draft grizzly bear management plan, EIS

From the official press release (also see “FWP unveils draft statewide grizzly plans more information” at the Missoulian for more background)  . . .

UPDATE (Dec 16, 3:30pm): Deadline for comments extended! See FWP extends comment period on draft grizzly bear management plan, draft EIS.

Grizzly Bear - Montana FWP
Grizzly Bear – Montana FWP

Dec 6, 2022 12:14 PM

HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a draft plan and environmental impact statement to guide the long-term management and conservation of grizzly bears across the state.

“For decades, FWP staff have worked with federal, tribal, and local partners, along with communities and landowners, to recover and then manage grizzly bear populations across much of Montana,” said FWP Director Hank Worsech. “This plan will put that experience into action and provide a framework for comprehensive management of grizzly bears in the state and ensure the populations remain sustainable and healthy into the future.”

The plan was informed by existing bear plans and conservation strategies for parts of the state, the federal recovery plan and the work of the Grizzly Bear Advisory Council, appointed under the previous administration in 2019.

Continue reading Montana FWP seeks public comment on draft grizzly bear management plan, EIS

Inside the experimental world of animal infrastructure

A black bear emerges from a wildlife underpass installed on the Flathead Reservation
A black bear emerges from a wildlife underpass installed on the Flathead Reservation

MIT Technology Review has a very informative long-form article on “animal infrastructure,” the bridges, underpasses and other structures and techniques being developed to deal with conflicts between animals and human activity . . .

In the mid-2000s, toads were meeting a gruesome end near Ede, an old, leafy town in the middle of the Netherlands. Local residents came to the rescue. For a few weeks each spring, the town erected a set of temporary fences along a kilometer or so of road, in an area where the animals crossed over from their winter habitat in the south to three breeding ponds in the north. When the toads hit the barrier, they’d hop sideways for a few meters until they dropped into a bucket, one of 36 pitfall traps that lined the fence.

Every day, volunteers would diligently carry the toads to the other side and send them on their way. It was a crude, somewhat laborious way of mitigating the hardship of being an amphibian in a world built for humans. But it was a lifeline that Ede residents were happy to provide for their warty neighbors—which, like so many other species worldwide, have suffered difficulties feeding, breeding, and migrating as their familiar landscape is carved apart by human infrastructure.

What followed has taken on the air of a cautionary fable among a small international community of ecologists and ecological designers…

Continue reading . . .

Conservationist awarded for his work on the North Fork

Michael Jamison - Kate Heston, Daily Inter Lake
Michael Jamison – Kate Heston, Daily Inter Lake

Here’s a nice article in the Daily Inter Lake about Michael Jamison’s selection by the North Fork Preservation Association for the Glacier National Park Stewardship Award . . .

In Northwest Montana, everything circles back to Glacier National Park. Especially for Michael Jamison, a Whitefish-based conservationist.

Glacier National Park did not haphazardly come into being, Jamison says. It was a deliberate choice by people who spent years lobbying and pushing to preserve that land. To Jamison, that park is still a choice.

“America’s parks are about as close as nature gets to the sacred,” Jamison wrote in a 2015 article for National Parks Conservation Association. “It is our collective relationship with these places — the countless intimate and individual experiences that intersect and merge to forge powerful cultural connections — that must move us to act on their behalf.”

Continue reading . . .

Holland Lake expansion proposal puts spotlight on lodging in grizzly habitat

A grizzly bear tips a dead tree near Obsidian Creek in Yellowstone NP - Jim Peaco, NPS
A grizzly bear tips a dead tree near Obsidian Creek in Yellowstone NP – Jim Peaco, NPS

Here’s a very interesting report from the recent winter Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee NCDE subcommittee meeting regarding a debate, triggered by the recent application by POWDR to expand lodging at Holland Lake, over how to handle such issues when they affect core grizzly habitat. Even better, the meeting was chaired by Flathead Forest Supervisor Kurt Steele, who is currently juggling the Holland Lake hot potato.

…The disagreement over land management, specifically development of more overnight lodging, was laid bare in Missoula Friday morning at the winter meeting of the NCDE Subcommittee. That’s part of the national Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, which coordinates the species’ recovery across six ecosystems in the West.

Tensions were high because of a recent proposal from Utah-based ski corporation POWDR to significantly expand Holland Lake Lodge in the Swan Valley, within the NCDE. The Flathead National Forest recently rejected the proposal. POWDR stated it plans to submit a new, similar proposal of the same size…

Continue reading . . .

Jamison recognized for conservation work

Michael Jamison - Chris Peterson, Hungry Horse News
Michael Jamison – Chris Peterson, Hungry Horse News

Chris Peterson has a very nice, very personal article in this week’s Hungry Horse News about Michael Jamison’s selection by the North Fork Preservation Association for the Glacier National Park Stewardship Award . . .

His only child was born in a cabin up the North Fork of the Flathead. One of his first assignments as a young journalist was howling for wolves with renowned wolf biologist Diane Boyd up the North Fork.

So yes, Michael Jamison has a soft spot for the North Fork. While he doesn’t live there full time, it still is home and he’s worked tirelessly over the years to make sure it stays one of the best backyards in the United States of America.

Earlier this month, the North Fork Preservation Association named Jamison its Glacier National Park Stewardship Award recipient for 2022.

Continue reading . . .

Michael Jamison awarded for work furnishing permanent protections on the North Fork

Michael Jamison at Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit Fireside Chat and Film Festival, Dec 5, 2018 - Justin Franz, Flathead Beacon
Michael Jamison at Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit Fireside Chat and Film Festival, Dec 5, 2018 – Justin Franz, Flathead Beacon

Wow! The Flathead Beacon has a great article on Michael Jamison, centered around his selection by the North Fork Preservation Association as this year’s Glacier National Park Stewardship Award recipient.

Well done. Recommended reading!

In the eight years since helping broker a deal to pass historic federal legislation that permanently banned new energy development along the North Fork Flathead River, which forms the western boundary of Glacier National Park, Michael Jamison has continued to furnish protections to all corners of the Crown of the Continent.

…In those eight years, Jamison has received plenty of awards and accolades for his work, but the most recent feather in his cap marks his proudest recognition.

Earlier this month, the North Fork Preservation Association (NFPA) announced it had selected Jamison as this year’s Glacier National Park Stewardship Award recipient.

Read more . . .

Court order changes wolf hunting season, effective immediately

Gray Wolf - Adam Messer-Montana FWPOn Tuesday, a District Court in Lewis and Clark County issued a temporary restraining order impacting some of Montana’s wolf hunting and trapping regulations. The changes go into effect immediately. The order restores the 2020 wolf quotas for several units, including the old two-wolf limit for WMU 110, which covers the North Fork. It also restricts “hunters and trappers to harvesting five wolves total per person, per season” and prohibits the use of snares. There’s a hearing scheduled for November 28 on this order.

Read more in the official press release . . .

Background information: Lawsuit asks for halt to Montana wolf hunt (Helena IR)

Alert: North Fork Land use planning needs your help!

Happy Fall dear NFPA members!

If you are an NFPA member and a landowner, this call is to you! If you’re a member and not a landowner, feel free to familiarize yourself with the material (below) and write some letter to our commissioners anyways! Thanks for all your support, today and always…

It’s time for North Fork Landowners to get our revised zoning Text Amendment across the finish line with the County Commissioners! The North Fook Land Use Advisory Committee (NFLUAC) needs your help!

WHY IT MATTERS:

Many of you have previously written extremely helpful letters of support for the Text Amendment.  We understand there is “planning fatigue”, but we need you to rally yourselves one last time and submit letters of support! Personalized letters pack the biggest punch, especially if they say WHY this matters to you:

  • Do you have a personal story about how you’ve been, or in the future may be, negatively affected if the zoning is NOT updated?
  • Are you concerned because our zoning is decades out of date and doesn’t meet current growth needs?
  • Are you concerned because our original zoning is sometimes confusing or ambiguous and leads to conflict within the community?

Please send a letter of support to the County Commissioners before the November 1, 2022 hearing, the earlier the better to ensure it is received and read. Their email addresses are: babell@flathead.mt.gov; pholmquist@flathead.mt.gov and rbrodehl@flathead.mt.gov.  The physical address is: 800 S. Main, Kalispell MT  59901.   If you’re not up to letter writing, you can submit a comment here: cocontactus@flathead.mt.gov.    The County Commissioner’s hearing is set for November 1, 2022 at 09:00, third floor of the courthouse.

WANT MORE INFORMATION?

A brief Summary of the Text Amendment, the Text Amendment itself and our letter to the Commissioners are linked below.  Italicized portions of the Text Amendment are those which are unchanged from the existing regulations.

Thanks again for taking the time to participate in the future of the North Fork!

Cheers and larch needles,

Flannery Coats Freund
NFPA President


Document links:
North Fork Zoning Text Amendment Overview
NFLUAC Commissioner Letter Oct 2022
NFLUAC Text amendment with italics Oct 5 2022

Two Kreck/Fields Scholarship Winners Announced for 2022

The NFPA Awards Committee found  the applicant pool for this year’s Kreck/Fields Scholarship so strong they decided to award two scholarships . . .

Jacob Bretz

Jacob Bretz

Jacob Bretz is a Masters Student at University  of Montana in the field of Environmental Philosophy. Jacob says “ The environmental problem is the existential issue of our time.”

Najifa Farhat

Najifa Farhat

Najifa Farhat is a Masters student at the University of Montana in Journalism, Environmental Science and Natural Resources. Najifa, a professional journalist reporting on environmental issues in Bangladesh prior to coming to Montana told us “my passion for writing and advocacy of issues related to nature, earth and the environment brought me into this profession.”

Scores of wildlife biologists criticize Holland Lake Lodge proposed expansion

The Holland Lake Lodge project continues to draw fire. You’ll see some familiar names in the signature block . . .

Holland Lake Lodge

United States Forest Service
Swan Lake Ranger District
Attn: Shelli Mavor (Holland Lake Lodge)
200 Ranger Station Road
Bigfork, Montana 59911

Re: 1950 (0110): Proposed Holland Lake Lodge Facility Expansion

To: Flathead National Forest Supervisor Kurtis Steele,

Commercialization of wildlife habitat on public lands for corporate profit is wrong

We are 38 Montana professional wildlife biologists and habitat managers with a total of 1,196 years of experience who have served as university faculty, commissioners on the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission, or as professional agency staff with the U. S. Forest Service; Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks; U.S. Geological Survey; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. National Park Service; and Tribal wildlife agencies.

An “adventure lifestyle” corporation, POWDR Inc., has proposed to expand Holland Lake Lodge, which operates on public land via a USFS special use permit. This proposal is apparently fully supported by the Flathead Forest Supervisor who said: “Improvements at the Holland Lake Lodge and the East Holland Lake Connector Trailhead would offer the opportunity to satisfy some of the increased demand for outdoor recreation on public lands in the Swan and Flathead Valleys.” This project will not “satisfy increased demand for outdoor recreation” but instead will massively increase demand with many negative impacts of outdoor recreation in prime grizzly bear and lynx habitat.

Continue reading Scores of wildlife biologists criticize Holland Lake Lodge proposed expansion