Logging to improve forest health and wildlife habitat is meaningless fiction

Steve Kelly

One of Montana’s most treasured wildlife sanctuaries is on the Chopping Block. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks is now a full partner in the logging industry’s brutal war on nature. FWP proposes to liquidate approximately 1,500 acres of prime wildlife habitat in the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area (BCWMA) (Machine Protocol).

That’s right, logging for wildlife. Logging to serve private capital is closer to the truth. Which sounds better, private capital or wildlife? Logging always sounds and looks better when wrapped in a disingenuous, ready-made narrative about the logging industry that inspires confusion and indifference in the hunter community and a genuine sense of pride and manliness in the governor’s office.

Don’t be fooled again, looting means certain death and destruction of the forest. When large machines start tearing the forest apart, native wildlife and fish try to escape. But where can they walk that hasn’t already been financialized and turned into a plantation that only grows state-owned goods?

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The good news is that FWP is taking public comments no later than January 19th. That doesn’t leave much time for hunters and concerned citizens, but this is the government’s game of life and death in the Blackfoot-Clearwater region.

Concerned citizens can refer to the Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the Doney Lake Forest Habitat Improvement Project at fwp.mt.gov/public-notices/news/2023/jan/doney-lake-forest-habitat-improvement-project-draft- access. ea.

Expedited logging with a 15-day public comment period prevents meaningful public participation, a right guaranteed by the Montana Constitution.

Comments must be received by FWP no later than January 19th.

Points to consider in your comments:

1) Conduct an EIS with a full economic analysis that includes non-monetary values ​​and benefits.

2) Has FWP asked the US Fish and Wildlife Service for a “take permit” for grizzly bears, lynx, bull trout, whitebark pines and wolverines that “may be present” in the project area?

3) Is there evidence that moose and other ungulates have a food shortage, are in poor health, or are declining in the project area?

4) Where is the source of money to give away public logs to private logging companies at a loss to Montana taxpayers? What federal funds are paying for this project?

5) Please provide legitimate evidence to support the assumption that the forest is “unhealthy” and “needs treatment”.

6) Please disclose how logging reduces hiding places and thermal cover for moose and other big game, pushing them to neighboring private lands. Is there a “hidden agenda” to encourage pay-to-play wild farming and higher fees/revenues?

7) Please indicate how logging disturbs the soil, which contributes to the spread of weeds and reduces biological and genetic diversity.

FWP lists numerous purported benefits in DEA’s purported “Purpose/Needs”. Let’s unpack a few right away.

“Improving big game feed” is a euphemism. FWP tries to hide the cows. The public may find it offensive or uncomfortable to know that logging to increase forage availability is almost always a sign that many cows are competing with large game populations for limited forage. Most canned agency narratives of “promoting aspen growth and regeneration” also try to hide the cows. Cows and big game love to eat aspen leaves and twigs.

“Promoting low severity wildfires” is propaganda that ignores drought conditions and high winds that cause large wildfires – “treatments” don’t work.

Logging is about money and control. Gas lighting hides the fact that this is a heist that looks like a gift from Santa Claus.

Logging to improve forest health and wildlife habitat is meaningless fiction. Corrupt Montana politicians demand a steady flow of logs to subsidize mill owners and banker parasites who milk taxpayers for profit. Stop this madness, comment today.

Steve Kelly is a Bozeman artist, horticulturist and President of the Council for Wildlife and Fish.

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