Tag Archives: Wilderness Act

As Wilderness Act turns 50, dealing with new technologies

Here’s a thoughtful article by Rob Chaney of the Missoulian concerning new issues technology brings to wilderness management . . .

When the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964, NASA was sending astronauts into space guided by an IBM 360 computer with 1 megabyte of memory. That’s enough to hold one minute of a video on today’s iPhone.

And that’s a conundrum for people like Pat Tabor. His Swan Mountain Outfitters lead paying customers into the Bob Marshall Wilderness for camping and hunting trips. That’s considered a “proper” commercial service under the special provisions clause of the Wilderness Act. But shooting a video of the experience with a smartphone for a movie about his company is not.

“Now with the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, it calls into question the viability of what we’re doing,” Tabor said. “There are immense restrictions that come into play when a place is designated wilderness. The language in the Wilderness Act speaks of commercial activity ‘to the extent necessary.’ That means commercial services. But what’s the extent of that?”

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U.S. Forest Service chief favors wilderness conservation

The Forest Service chief weighs in on wilderness at the “Room to Roam” Wilderness Issues Lecture Series in Missoula . . .

The U.S. Forest Service was founded on the idea of conserving the nation’s wild country, and it will continue that mission even as the opportunities to do so shrink, according to agency Chief Tom Tidwell.

“Once you use wilderness for something else, for our generation or future generations it’s gone,” Tidwell said during a lecture at the University of Montana on Tuesday. “It can shrink, but not grow.”

But Tidwell said we need blank spaces on the map to, as conservationist Wallace Stegner put it, preserve the challenge against which we as a people were formed. Those places defined by the Wilderness Act of 1964 serve as both places of human refreshment and ecological reserve in a landscape that’s getting ever more crowded.

Read more .  . .

Second Annual Wilderness Speaker Series focuses on future

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the passing of the Wilderness Act, the Flathead Valley Community College will be hosting a four-part series on “50 Years of Wilderness:  What Will the Next 50 Years Look Like?”   Presentations will focus on the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, the crown jewel of the Federal Wilderness System. The series is sponsored by the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation (BMWF) and the Montana Wilderness Association (MWA).

The first of the series, “Wilderness Turns 50 – Who Cares?”, will be on Thursday, January 23 at 7:00 p.m. The presenter will be Rick Potts, Refuge Manager, from Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.

The lectures will be held on the FVCC campus, 777 Grandview Drive, Kalispell, in the Arts & Technology Building, Room 139, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.  There is no charge; everyone welcome.

Here is the full schedule. (Note that NFPA member Frank Vitale is on the March 13 panel.):

January 23:
Wilderness Turns 50 – Who Cares?
Rick Potts, Refuge Manager, Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.

February 13:
Climate Change Effects on Landscapes and Ecosystems of Western Montana
Bob Keane, U.S. Forest Service, Missoula FireResearch Station

March 13:
Leaving a Legacy; Passing on Wilderness to the Next Generation
Panel discussion between elders and youth.
Panelists: Roland Cheek, retired wilderness outfitter and writer; Dave Owen; retired USFS wilderness ranger; Frank Vitale, Farrier and wilderness advocate; Rebecca Boslow, University of Montana student; Jonson England, high school student and BMWF summer intern

April 10:
Hair Raising Encounters with Wildlife in Wilderness
Jonathan Klein, U.S.F.S. retired Wilderness and Recreation manager (34years) on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Next Flathead Forest Friday meeting focuses on upcoming Wilderness Act anniversary

The Flathead National Forest has another “Flathead Forest Friday” meeting coming up on Friday, November 22. This time it’s at the Nite Owl in Columbia Falls. Here’s the press release . . .

Everyone Invited for a Breakfast Chat on Friday, November 22nd

Next year is the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act which preserves more than 100 million acres of wild-lands nationwide, including the Mission Mountains, Great Bear, Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness areas on the Flathead National Forest. The public is invited to a no-host breakfast on Friday, November 22, 2013 to learn about a number of events planned around the Flathead Valley next year to mark the anniversary and to help connect people to the wilderness. The breakfast will start at 7:00 AM at the Night Owl restaurant in Columbia Falls.

On September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act which established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) setting aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wild-lands for the use and benefit of the American people. Over the past 50 years Congress has added over 100 million acres to this unique land preservation system. The 1964 Wilderness Act defines “Wilderness” as areas where the earth and its communities of life are left unchanged by people, where the primary forces of nature are in control, and where people themselves are visitors who do not remain.

Multiple agencies and organizations are partnering to host a number of events during 2014. Spotted Bear District Ranger Deb Mucklow and Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation Executive Director Carol Treadwell will join our Flathead Forest Friday guests to discuss the events planned in the Flathead Valley.

Every other month, the Forest Service will coordinate these no-host breakfast meetings at a local restaurant with the goal of sharing good food, great company, and a little information about what’s happening on our National Forest. We hope the event will be a great way to discuss public land management opportunities and challenges that are important to us all.

If you plan to attend or have any questions, please notify Public Affairs Officer Wade Muehlhof at ewmuehlhof@fs.fed.us or (406) 758-5252. Your response allows us to plan accordingly with the restaurant.

Last 50 years good for Montana wildlife

Here’s a rather upbeat look at species recovery efforts across Montana . . .

Montanans are living in wild times.

For proof, just look at the big picture. There are elk, bison and bighorn sheep grazing in the prairie regions of Eastern Montana where they had previously been exterminated. Large predators like grizzly bears, mountain lions and gray wolves prowl the western forests of the state after declining to record lows.

In the state’s rivers, Yellowstone and westslope cutthroat trout, as well as endangered pallid sturgeon, are being planted to enhance their declining populations. Even in towns and cities wildlife are resurging as geese crowd golf course ponds, mule deer nibble on resident’s shrubbery and ducks, rabbits and Merriam’s turkeys commonly strut across manicured lawns.

Continue reading . . .