Category Archives: News

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

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)

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

Judge reinstates drilling lease in Badger-Two Medicine

Badger-Two Medicine Region
Badger-Two Medicine Region

The zombie case that just won’t die…

A federal judge on Friday reinstated the last remaining drilling lease on land in the Badger-Two Medicine region near the Blackfeet Reservation, renewing the threat of industrialization on lands held sacred to the tribe even as its cultural leaders pledge to continue their fight.

“It’s just more of the same from people who refuse to consult with the Blackfeet Nation about the industrialization of our last cultural refuge,” John Murray, the Blackfeet Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, said in a prepared statement. “We’ve lived under this kind of reckless threat to our sacred lands for decades, and we will never surrender to roads and drill rigs in the Badger-Two Medicine.”

The long-disputed energy lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area flanking Glacier National Park was canceled in 2016 under then-U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, a decision upheld by a federal appeals court in 2020.

Continue reading . . .

Keeping it wild: how mules help preserve the last untamed places in the US

Chinese Wall - Bob Marshall Wilderness
Chinese Wall – Bob Marshall Wilderness

Here’s an excellent article centered on the Bob Marshal Wilderness. NFPA founding member Frank Vitale gets more than just a passing mention.

(And there’s even a link back to this website. See if you can find it.) . . .

Here’s a partial list of things you cannot, under any circumstances, take into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, in Montana: chainsaws, mountain bikes, ATVs, tractors, wheelbarrows. If it has gears, it stays home. If it’s mechanical in any way, it’s a no-go.

Those are the rules deemed necessary to protect the United States’ 803 federally designated wilderness areas. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, with its 1,849 miles of trails, happens to be one of the biggest.

The Bob, as it is affectionately called by Montanans, is home to wolves, grizzlies, elk, moose and mountain lions. The pristine territory is more than 1.5m acres, roughly eight times the size of New York City. And thanks to the 1964 Wilderness Act, it is not crossed by a single road. Drones and bush planes are also, today, strictly forbidden.

But here’s what you can take along for the ride instead: the humble mule.

Continue reading . . .