Senator Tester doesn’t have a clear understanding of categorical exclusions, but he sure knows an end-run when he sees it…
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana grilled the chief of the U.S. Forest Service this week about its initial decision — since reversed — to give an expansion plan at Holland Lake Lodge an exemption from a thorough environmental review.
Tester said Congress meant that type of exemption — called a “categorical exclusion” — to be used for projects that protect communities from wildfires.
At least he wouldn’t have supported it for “making some corporation rich off our public lands,” Tester said.
The Holland Lake Lodge project continues to draw fire. You’ll see some familiar names in the signature block . . .
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.