Tag Archives: wilderness designation

Tester’s forest bill faces challenges

The Flathead Beacon has a good overview, minus the sound bites and PR-speak, of the challenges faced by Sen. Jon Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. Here’s the lede . . .

Jon Tester’s recently introduced Forest Jobs and Recreation Act may be the most significant piece of legislation he has created in his, still relatively short, career in the U.S. Senate.

Read the entire article . . .

Full text of proposed “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act” available

For those of you who prefer your information raw and unfiltered, this page has links to the full text of Sen Jon Tester’s proposed “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act” and to the associated “Proposed Land Designations” map: http://tester.senate.gov/Legislation/forestresources.cfm.

A comfortable chair and beverage of choice recommended prior to reading.

Excellent local coverage of Tester’s “new-style wilderness bill”

The Daily Inter Lake posted a set of well-written articles late last night on Sen. Jon Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, including an interesting overview of previous efforts. Looks like Jim Mann had a long, hard day putting all this stuff together.

Here are the links and lead-ins . . .

Tester unveils new-style wilderness bill

Backed by loggers, outfitters, conservationists, hunters and anglers, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., unveiled forest management legislation for the state, with wilderness designations, on Friday in Townsend.

The 80-page Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is largely based on the input of collaborative groups involving diverse interests over the last few years.

Bill includes 25 wilderness areas

The Jobs and Recreation Bill includes 25 new wilderness designations in Montana, many of them small, and Sen. Jon Tester says that is a reflection of how the bill was tailor-made through years of collaborative negotiations.

Williams recalls past wilderness proposal battles

Former Montana Rep. Pat Williams unsuccessfully tried to pass wilderness legislation 16 times during his 18 years in Congress, but he says things have changed since then and Sen. Jon Tester’s proposal stands a better chance.

Tester’s forest plan gets the big reveal

The Missoulian is all over Senator Jon Tester’s “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act” (mostly called “Tester’s wilderness bill” throughout the week). The big reveal was at a meeting in Townsend Friday afternoon. The Missoulian posted a basic write-up shortly thereafter, followed by two lengthier articles early Saturday morning.

What’s the North Fork connection? The projects in the bill are the thin edge of the wedge. Tester is proposing a fairly basic change in the way the Forest Service works with all local communities.

Here are the links and ledes for the two most recent Missoulian articles, as well as a map showing the areas affected.

The smell of sawdust hung in the air Friday as U.S. Sen. Jon Tester stood in front of a small lumber mill and announced his plans to create almost 700,000 acres of new Montana wilderness, designate a new national recreation area and mandate timber harvests on thousands of forested acres.

Called the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, Tester’s bill is the first effort to set aside new wilderness in Montana in a generation. Most of the new wilderness, more than 500,000 acres, would be in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.

Yet most of the talk Friday was about all the other things Tester’s bill would do, specifically requiring timber harvests, directing different kinds of timber removal — like cutting small trees for biomass generators — and creating new kinds of contracts timber companies could make with the federal government.

Read the entire article . . .

Public lands logging would see big changes if U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act becomes law.

That’s either a needed compromise to break deadlocks in Montana’s wilderness debate, or a step toward breaking up the U.S. Forest Service, depending on whom you talk to.

Read the entire article . . .

And also: A map of the proposed land designations in PDF format.

Official announcement of Tester’s “wilderness bill” scheduled for 1pm Friday

OK, it’s official. U.S. Senator Jon Tester will introduce his “forest jobs and stewardship bill” on Friday, July 17 during a 1 p.m. news conference at RY Timber in Townsend. The Missoulian has a brief write-up, including the obligatory, sound-bite quote . . .

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester will introduce his much-anticipated bill designed to create jobs in Montana’s forests while also designating new wilderness areas this Friday, July 17.

Tester has been hearing input on the legislation from dozens of Montana organizations and individuals for more than two years.

Read the entire article . . .

Tester wilderness bill also targets jobs and recreation

According to today’s Missoulian, Sen. Jon Tester’s office is being a little more forthcoming this week about the wilderness bill he intends to announce Friday. See our previous post for background information. Here’s the lede . . .

There may be more ideas than acres going into an anticipated wilderness bill under construction in Montana Sen. Jon Tester’s office.

And one of those ideas may be a new name.

“There are several major components to the overall legislation (jobs through new logging opportunities, recreational access, etc.), so calling it simply a ‘wilderness bill’ is a mischaracterization,” Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy said Monday. “I’d call it a forest jobs and stewardship bill.”

Tester’s staff has stated the bill would build upon the work of three environmentalist/industry collaboration efforts. The Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership outlined about 322,000 acres of wilderness in the national forest land that stretches between Helena and Monida. Another 87,000 acres are suggested in the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Project. And the Three Rivers Challenge in the Yaak designates 30,000 acres as wilderness.

Read the entire article . . .

Good background information on Tester’s wilderness bill

The High Country News has a lengthy but excellent piece covering some of the background and thinking behind Sen. Jon Tester’s wilderness bill. Although it focuses on the Beavercreek-Deerlodge Partnership, the article includes lots of good supplementary information that helps put Tester’s plans in context. It takes very little reading between the lines to realize that this could have a significant impact on forest management locally.

Recommended reading.

Here’s a taste . . .

They call it the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership, but it’s not as warm and fuzzy as it sounds. They’ve hammered out some bold goals, determined to make both the Forest Service and more hard-line environmentalists agree to them. They want increased logging, contentious restoration projects and controversial wilderness designations that would break a 26-year-long gridlock in Montana’s wilderness politics.

Read the entire article . . .

Many unhappy with secrecy of Tester’s wilderness planning

Surprise! A lot of folks are starting to grumble about the level of secrecy surrounding Senator John Tester’s wilderness planning. This may just be a case of Tester practicing the “art of the possible,” but expect some additional ideas to get tossed in his lap. In the North Fork area, the long-standing Winton Weydemeyer Wilderness proposal is an obvious candidate.

The Flathead Beacon has an AP story discussing some of the complaints about the process . . .

A group of environmentalists and former supporters of Sen. Jon Tester are criticizing his office’s decision to keep quiet about legislative plans for a new Montana wilderness area.

Critics speaking out about the plan include many who want to see more wilderness themselves but argue the issue is so important that Tester’s office should disclose exactly what is being considered. They say the Montana Democrat’s proposal is the product of a secretive process open only to well-connected insiders.

Meanwhile, groups believed to have a say in negotiations, including the Montana Wilderness Association, hail the Tester’s work as a major step toward creating Montana’s first new wilderness designation since the 1980s. Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy said voters are encouraged to share their views on forest management.

Read the entire article . . .

More detail on Montana wilderness proposals

As mentioned in a couple of earlier posts today, Sen. Jon Tester is looking at backing a number of possible wilderness designation proposals. The previous post links to an article giving a pretty good overview of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge proposals, but is quite vague on the one in the Seeley Lake area and another in “northwestern Montana.” However, there were enough clues to track down some useful information.

Turns out, the “northwestern Montana” item is part of the “Three Rivers Challenge,” a legislative proposal put together by the Lincoln County Coalition that would affect the Kootenai National Forest. A draft of the proposal is available on their web site.

The Seeley Lake area proposed wilderness designation is primarily an extension to the southwestern boundaries of the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wildernesses. It’s part of a larger package put together by the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project. Their web site contains a summary of the wilderness designation proposal, as well as a project map.