Conservation News Story Archive Sept. - October 2000
State biologist talks about game farms and wildlife diseases. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott McMillion. More reason to vote for the ban on more game farms in Montana.
11-1-00. Chronic wasting disease: FWP will again test deer, elk. Agency wants heads from hunters' kills. of the Missoulian.
Here's an interesting article about romancing the biologists. Women who love men who live in huts too much by Lisa Jones. Writers on the Range. High Country News.
Montana Senate Contest is a Bitter Struggle. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott McMillion. Is Montana Senate race the key to a Democrat majority in the U.S. Senate? Washington Post.
Schweitzer (Burn's opponent) keeps pulling off what others say won’t work. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott McMillion.
Poll: Measure to ban new game "farms" slightly ahead in Montana. Billings Gazette.
Poll: Montana House race (like its Senate and Governor races) is a dead heat. Billings Gazette.
Fire discussion takes unlikely shift. Clinton's forest preservation plan could foster agreement between loggers, environmentalists By Rocky Barker. The Idaho Statesman
Is the infamous Snowmobile Rider now Dead in Congress? Billings Gazette. Perhaps, but keep the email, faxes and phone calls coming.
What about Idaho and Wyoming races? I have posted a number of articles on Montana races and the environment. What about the other two Rocky Mountain wolf states? Idaho and Wyoming are one-party Republican states. The Republicans have almost every race of statewide or national importance sewed up months before the election. In Idaho the Democrats don't even field candidates for many races. 10-30-2000. Bush has a Lock on Idaho. Idaho Statesman.
Gore lifts conservationists' spirits: In a position paper, the vice president says he'll support protecting and preserving old-growth forests. By Michelle Cole of The Oregonian.
Idaho Watersheds Project becomes ranch manager on the East Fork of the Salmon River. IWP News Release. This property is between Hurless and the Bakers, for whom the Twin Peaks and White Clouds packs were wiped out last spring.
A Lawsuit Runs Through It by Carlotta Grandstaff. Missoula Independent. Access to Montana's streams is a big issue in the closely contested governor's race. Is the Republican candidate tied to an anti-public access, right wing law firm?
Poll: Montana governor race a toss-up. Billings Gazette. By Charles S. Johnson.
GOP with a thin lead for Montana House of Representatives. Billings Gazette.
Gore, Bush radically different on logging and saving salmon from extinction. Register-Guard. By Joe Harwood.
Gore states his support for protecting the national forest roadless areas. News Release.
The most anti-wolf U.S. Senator in dead heat. Poll: Schweitzer, Burns even! By Kathleen McLaughin, Billings Gazette. Senator Conrad Burns of Montana almost single-handedly stopped the wolf reintroduction into Yellowstone, and he has fought it ever since. He has also been a big fan of the bison slaughter and keeping the snowmobiles in Yellowstone He always wins because the big PACs support him about 5 or 7:1 over his opponent. He has the money this time too, but maybe his "charm" has gone. Opinion: This logger thinks Conrad Burns is the problem by Keith Brandemihl. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Alert. Stop the Snowmobile Rider in Congress. Take Action. Keep writing 10-26!!!
Stalking Slade. High Country News. By Steven Stuebner. Detailed article how environmentalists and Native Americans are going after one of the most anti-environmental U.S. Senators, Slade Gorton of Washington state.
Montana Hunters Blast Game Farms. High Country News. Montanans will have a chance to put an end to elk farms which many argue are a source of disease and canned hunts for incompetent hunters who want to appear otherwise. Added 10-26-00. Opinion: Voters should can, canned hunts by Ben Long. High Country News. Writers on the Range.
Democrats see Light in Montana. High Country News by Todd Wilkinson. High Country News. Montana used to be an environment friendly state with an improving economy, but both have languished under years of a Republican governor Marc Racicot, U.S. Senator Conrad Burns and Congressman Rick Hill. Democrats have a change at all three seats (Racicot and Hill are retiring). Racicot hopes to be George Bush's Secretary of Interior.
Sockeye Salmon Return to Sawtooth Valley dramatic this year compared to the past. Idaho Mountain Express.
Possible Sasquatch (Big Foot) body imprint analyzed by Idaho State University professor. Idaho State University news release.
Added 10-27. More on the Sasquatch imprint.
Deliberate destruction of meadows by monster trucks a growing problem. On Oct. 18, I put up an article about monster trucks deliberately destroying a meadow in Wyoming and noted that a similar event happened in Idaho. This seems to be a growing problem as this story from Colorado tells. Radio Fans Wreck the Rockies. Boulder Daily Camera.
Fires' legacy may be weeds. By JAN FALSTAD Of The Billings Gazette Staff. Sadly I think this may indeed be the legacy of the fires. The burned trees will regrow, but the invasion by non-native weeds is forever.
Saving Souls and Salmon by Jim Robbins. New York Times.
Yellowstone Rests. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. by John Miller.
|10-21-2000||Last minute congressional mischief. New Yorks Times editorial on the snowmobile and other last minute riders.|
Urgent! Snowmobile Rider Threatens all our national parks. As usual Congress didn't get the budget passed by the beginning of the fiscal year (Oct. 1). Now a handful of leaders are negotiating with the President over the budget they haven't passed, and as usual undemocratic methods are being used to add important legislation as riders on top of the necessary budget bill. These are bills that would never clear an honest floor vote. They may have even been defeated on the floor of Congress. One would make snowmobile use a "historic" use in all our national parks and declare it doesn't harm the environment. Your calls, and email, are urgently needed.
Editorial from the LA Times on the sneaky snowmobile amendment. A Snow Job in Congress. Oct. 20.
Gore gets nod of major environmental groups in Oregon. ENN. For those enviros thinking of voting for Ralph Nader this story is important and so is the alert above. With Bush in office, there won't have to be a rider to mandate snowmobiles in our national parks, the President will be supporting it. Do you want to be pure of heart, or do you want really help protect the planet? Lieberman warns environmentalists of the consequences of a Bush presidency. ENN
Developers of Montana millionaire's only town, break state environmental laws by Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
|10-19-2000||People for Montana, a political organization, not of people, but of corporations struggles to keep Montana under its thumb. Missoula Independent.
Forest Service to Prosecute for Damage Done by Monster Truck Rally in Wyoming. Billings Gazette. There was a similar incident in the White Cloud Mountain of Idaho this summer. A bunch of teenagers got drunk and destroyed a sub-alpine meadow with their trucks.
10-20. The Forest Service has set the damage at $53,000. They haven't decided if the truck drivers will be charged with felonies or misdemeanors. A felony change may put these people on notice.
|10-14-2000||Strange elk was pure elk, not hybrid, says state: Officials waiting for results of disease tests. By DARYL GADBOW. Hunters, wildlife supporters, and some of the livestock industry have been terrified by game farm mad elk disease and the escape of non-native exotic deer from Montana game farms. A very odd elk that turned recently fortunately was pure elk. Tests for mad elk (chronic wasting disease) have not been completed.|
|10-13-2000||Nature Conservancy buys huge Oregon ranch: Spread near Hells Canyon had been managed for wildlife. Spokesman-Review. This is in an area where wolves could spread to.
Bush Debate Environmental Claims: Fiction vs. Fact. From Sierra Club
Clinton Signs "Cara Lite." ENN News. Although the landmark CARA bill was bogged down by western Republicans, a smaller version of the bill finally passed, providing more for federal and state land acquisitions to protect wildlife, open space, beaches, and endangered species.
Our view. Idaho Falls Post Register. CARA Lite is a hollow imitation by J. Robb Brady.
Final version of Yellowstone Winter Use Plan Released: Snowmobiles to be booted out of Park. Billings Gazette. Great News!! However, they will be given 4 more seasons to pollute the Park.
10-10 Here is the Park Service News Release on the final winter plan.
Forest dwellers should be on their own by Mark Matthews. Writers on the range. Matthews argues that those who have built homes in the fire prone forests of the interior West should not get subsidies from the government for tree thinning and fuel reduction. He says they should be on their own.
Who really torched the West this summer? by Ed Quillen. Writers on the Range.
The next stage, fire rehab: Massive erosion-control effort seeks to minimize impact of runoff in Bitterroot forest by Jane Rider. Missoulian.
National Elk Refuge at Jackson Schedules Extra Long Elk Hunt. Billings Gazette. The government says there are just too many elk in the area, as they have for years. This certainly contradicts the views of some area outfitters that the wolves have killed all the elk.
|10-7-2000||Grim prognoses on West Nile Virus. West Nile Virus Is 'Here to Stay' by By Michael E. Ruane Washington Post Staff Writer. The virus is expected to spread all over the country in three years and take a grim toll of wildlife and sicken many people.
Idaho deer hunters find fair numbers on season's opening day: Hot, dry conditions may challenge sportsmen. By Roger Phillips. The Idaho Statesman
After range fires, areas lose topsoil: With top layer gone, dust storms force closures. Idaho Statesman. When all is said and done, the real damage from this summer's fires in Idaho will be the rangefires, much more than the forest fires.
Electric fence to hold wolves at bay.
|10-5-2000||Stealth PAC labors to Keep Montana Under Corporate Grip. Missoula Independent.|
News release the Idaho Watersheds Project).
Reseeding after fires called ineffective: A Forest Service study finds its emergency rehabilitation efforts do little to control flooding and landslides. Oregonian by Michael Milstein.
New report could change uses of national forests: Aim is to limit damage to public lands. Idaho Statesman. Recreation accounts for many times the income generated by logging and grazing on the national forests.
Early elk arrival expected at National Elk Refuge due to drought. AP.
Yellowstone burns of 1988 yield clues to fire behavior. ENN. By Dan Whipple.
Most Montanans agree with Racicot on fires.
By KATHLEEN McLAUGHLIN
Gazette State Bureau.
Racicot's popularity in Montana has always been a mystery to me as the state's economy languishes near last place and it lurches from one embarrassment to another, but it's clear most Montanans think he's great. While most Montanans seem to blame the fires on Clinton, they forget there were not only folks to have fires, it was a bad fire season in many parts of the United States. From spark to finish: Americans from Florida to Montana are taking stock of fire losses. Billings Gazette.
Wolves get shocks to stop killing of cattle. Associated Press. The three remaining aversively conditioned wolves for the Sheep Mountain Pack will soon be released. While this experiment has had its setbacks, I support its efforts and think the Human Society and Fund for Animals are flat-out wrong about it being inhumane, given that the alternative would be repeatedly wiping out the wolves in the area just north of Yellowstone as they inevitably attack cattle. The best alternative would be to buy up the private land in the area and remove the livestock. It would be wonderful if the Fund for Animals would do than rather than complain about attempt to make for the best in less than perfect world.
CARA dead, but compromise funding approved. Some obnoxious riders removed in final budget negotiations. Environment News Service. The deal isn't final, negotiations on the federal budget continue. Story in the Washington Post. Deal Set on Landmark Conservation Program by Dan Morgan.
Foresters urge moderation in spending on fire suppression.
Reseeding scorched [range] land is huge task. Rehab restores habitat, reduces future fire danger By Emily Simnitt. The Idaho Statesman. More of this needs to be done. In my view it is the range fires, not the forest fires, that most threaten the ecology of the interior Western states.
Options to national parks overcrowding discussed at Yellowstone conference. Billings Gazette.
9-24-2000. Utah Revs up timber sales on state trust lands. By Brent Israelsen. Salt Lake Tribune. A number of interior western states would like to takeover the national forests. They say they can manage these lands better, but a look at how they manage the lands they already have speaks volumes. Utah, a desert state, pushing for big timber sales on its states lands, is an example of what state management would be like.
Keenan holds edge in race for Montana House seat
Rehab work starts in Atlanta [Idaho] area: Crews try to stop dirt from flowing off burned hills. By Jeffrey McKinnie. The Idaho Statesman. This is rehab of the Trail Creek that burned just south of the Sawtooth Wilderness.
9-21-2000. Poor air quality contributed to death of northern Idaho woman: coroner says, grass burning, asthma to blame. Spokane Spokesman Review. Annually these grass seed-burning farmers cause gross pollution in northern Idaho and NE Washington. I was recently in northern Idaho. The air quality was worse than during the forest fire season. Personal health and the pocketbook of other businesses, such as the tourist trade, take a back seat in Idaho as politicians coddle these polluters.
9-27-2000. Death gets EPA's attention: Agency asks state of Idaho what it is going to do about field smoke. Spokane Spokesman-Review
Court Rules that Resorts on Wild Salmon River Must Go! ENN. This is a precedent-setting victory for the wild rivers in our National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. 9-26. The story in the Missoulian by Sherry Devlin.
In Montana. Burns leads, Schweitzer closes gap. By KATHLEEN McLAUGHLIN Billings Gazette State Bureau. Burns is Montana's junior senator. He is well known for his anti-wolf position, and was responsible for killing funding for the wolf reintroduction of 1996 which came about anyway due mostly to volunteer donations and help. Over the years, Burns has chalked up one of the worst anti-environment records in history.
Experiment tries shock therapy to keep wolves from killing livestock. Billings Gazette.
As usual, Congress loads appropriations bills with last minute anti-environmental riders. President threatens Veto. ENN.
Idahoans happy but anxious about future Poll compares perceptions of rural, urban residents By Craig Quintana. The Idaho Statesman
Conservation and Reinvestment Act: Back off, supporters tell Montana Senator Burns. Missoulian. This important act investing in conservation is overwhelmingly supported by members of the U.S. House, by the American public, and by the governors of Montana and Idaho, but a small group of Western senators, including Burns of Montana, Larry Craig, and Mike Crapo of Idaho are keeping it bottled up in the Senate. It passed the House overwhelmingly.
Getting burned by logging by Chad Hanson. Writers on the Range. "In the wake of this year's severe fire season, the timber industry has rushed to take political advantage, claiming that it needs continued access to national forests in order to "thin underbrush," ostensibly to reduce fire risk. Political posturing aside, the reality is that the timber industry has no interest in "underbrush."
Here's the bad news. Craig, Gorton may help tie up historic land bill Bipartisan bill would triple conservation spending from wilderness to inner-cities. Spokane-Spokesman Review.
Here's the good. Gorton facing serious challenge from Maria Cantwell. Most folks who read this page know about Real Networks. Perhaps her 21st Century thinking will replace this tired old suit out of the 1940s. Gorton has been a great enemy of wilderness, salmon, and Native Americans.
Elk get wild in the fall. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Montana Initiative to ban game farm industry generates controversy. By Erin P. Billings Gazette State Bureau. I side with the backers of the initiative. Turning wildlife into livestock is threat to wildlife, wildlife observation, hunting, and even traditional cattle due to the danger of diseases such as chronic wasting disease a.k.a. "mad elk disease."
Fire officials weigh damage in wake of Clear Creek Fire. Some say efforts to control fires left worse scars on environment By Rocky Barker. The Idaho Statesman. The fact that the fire fighting itself did much environmental damage will hardly surprise anyone who has followed the big fires of the past. One of the complaints of some locals regarding the Yellowstone fires of 1988 was that Yellowstone was "destroyed" because they didn't use enough bulldozers. Given the reputation of the Salmon area, everyone know "plenty of bulldozers" would be used. Folks who know the Salmon, Idaho and the Bitterroot Valley of Montana regard one of the greatest environmental threats in the area to be the spread of knapweed, which displaces even perfectly healthy native vegetation. Now, that weed has been given a great head start on the burned native vegetation.
Planting New Forests Can't Match Saving Old Ones in Cutting Greenhouse Gases, Study Finds By ANDREW C. REVKIN. New York Times. An old timber industry argument is that we need to cut down the old, never logged forests to make way for new trees that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in their photosynthesis. The timber industry argument is not true.
Hungry black bear cub hit by vehicle and killed on Bozeman, MT Main Street. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. With the drought and fires it has been a tough year for bears in many places. The bears are coming to town.
9-22. Bears Captured in Bozeman. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. By Joan Haines.
Dogs kill 6 sheep on Bozeman area ranch. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. In 1999, the 120 or so wolves in the entire Greater Yellowstone Area killed 13 sheep.
Elk rebounding in Northern Idaho, but overall numbers down. Spokane Spokesman-Review. Of course the low elk numbers have been blamed on bears, cougar, and wolves and the Idaho Fish and Game Commission has just came out with a strong anti-predator policy. Meanwhile, the Spokesman-Review reported: Idaho bear, cougar populations down.
Montana prays for wet winter to ease drought. Spokane Spokesman-Review. The same can be said for Idaho.
|9-20-2000||Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck: An unlikely revolutionary puts trees first. By Todd Wilkinson. Special to The Christian Science Monitor. Dombeck has probably had as much effect on the Forest Service than any chief since its founder, Gifford Pinchot.|
|9-19-2000||Western Governors Unite: Leaders tone down anti-Clinton language, look for aid package to help recover from devastating wildfires. by Paul Foy. AP. I think they have toned down their rhetoric because they found their effort to blame the President and his plan to protect the roadless areas is not selling with the public or the media (unlike after past fires which have prompted an orgy of salvage logging). They also want the President to support fire recovery aid, a matter their constituents are interested in more than blame. Significantly in Chenoweth's hearing on the fires (where the salmon-throwing incident upstaged the matters of hearing in the media coverage), neither she, nor Montana U.S. Rep. Rick Hill, nor Montana governor Marc Racicot even spoke the word "logging."|
Photo of elk and Montana fires becomes famous. Spokane Spokesman Review. Link to the photo
Protester throws salmon at congresswoman by Sherry Devlin of The Missoulian. A protester hit Congressman Helen Chenoweth-Hage with some canned salmon at a hearing on the forest fires.
9-18-2000. Yesterday at the Chenoweth hearing, she said the firefighters should have worked harder. For a different viewpoint here is a Writers on the Range Piece by John Maclean, "Firefighters feel the quiet ghost of Storm King." Maclean is the author of Fire on the Mountain, the True Story of the South Canyon Fire. Maclean's father, Norman, wrote A River Runs Through it and Young Men and Fire.
Bill would ban scenic flights over Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Billings Gazette. This was sparked by the plan of Vortex Aviation to conduct numerous helicopter tours over the Jackson Hole area. I had an alert up on this. Thanks for your help.
The anger of local residents caused the Jackson Hole Airport board to put a 120 day moratorium on scenic helicopter flights. The California company Vortex is suing the Airport Board.
|9-8-2000||Poacher from Alabama receives record fine for poaching in Montana. Billings Gazette.|
|9-6-2000||Weather eases fire threat. AP by Susan Gallagher.|
Forest Service makes push to eliminate roads as logging numbers drop. CNN. Great News!
Racicot acting like a petulant child. Letter to the editor. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. I liked this letter because it was such an accurate portrayal of Racicot's efforts to blame the fires on the President's attempts to protect the national forest roadless areas.
National Forests in Montana Reopened to the Public. Idaho Statesman.
Montana Rain now Raises fears of Mudslides. Missoulian.
Forest Service chief says government will examine fire's role in West: This will be a summer remembered for how it redefined our relationship with fire, Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck said Sunday. By Sherry Devilin. Missoulian.
Rain falls. Ninemile Valley the apparent wet spot. Missoulian.
Beaver Creek Fire NW of Yellowstone taken off the Active Fires List. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Homeowners could help stop wildfires: Yards, not forests, are the biggest problem for firefighters in many areas. By Rocky Barker The Idaho Statesman
Rain, snow help, hinder firefighters By Jeffrey McKinnie The Idaho Statesman
Debate has already begun on salvaging timber from thousands of scorched acres. Missoulian. by Sherry Devlin. "Bob Decker calls it the "black forest debate." He hopes it will be intelligent. With millions of forested acres burned by wildfires in the West this summer, state and federal land managers are quickly turning their attention to salvaging the wood that remains - unblemished - inside charcoal-barked trees. The potential quantity of salvage timber is immense. So is the potential debate."
This year the extent of the fire is so great that most of the burner timber will be worthless before it can be salvaged. The green trees are the bait. Notice: that Montana state forests are the first to begin salvage. That's typical of the tunnel vision of the Idaho and Montana state forests.
Wet weather slows spread of Idaho wildfires. Blaze near Atlanta [ID] fully contained By Jeffrey McKinnie The Idaho Statesman
President Declares Nine Idaho Counties Disaster Areas. By Jeffrey McKinnie The Idaho Statesman
National Park Service asks EPA for regs to clean up the air in the national Parks. Environmental News Network. Twenty years ago The Clean Air Act was amended to prevent the deterioration of air quality in the national parks and Wilderness areas, but the decline air quality has continued.
Beartooth Highway Reopened. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
The Teton Wilderness in Wyoming has been partially (about 3/4) reopened just in time for the elk hunt. The Enos Creek fire keeps burning, but it is no longer expanding much.
Fires mostly bypass state lands. Chief land manager says Idaho has had 'a lot of luck' By Gregory Hahn the Idaho Statesman. Actually this headline is very misleading because the percentage of Idaho state lands burned is higher than the percentage of federal land in Idaho burned. It's just that the state of only owns about 1/20 what the federal government does.
Clinton to ask for $1.2 billion for fire repairs, prevention: Environmental, logging groups likely to clash over how it's spent. Associated Press. The important thing to understand is the difference between thinning for fire prevention and commercial logging. The former may reduce the chance of a crown fire. The latter does not reduce the chance of fires and may promote them.
Fires Not Caused by Reduced Logging, Congressional Report Finds. By Timothy Egan. New York Times. "There appears to be no link between reduced logging on national forests over the last decade and the wildfires now raging through much of the West, a report by a bipartisan research group for Congress has found. If anything, heavy logging from earlier years may have contributed more to the conditions that have made Western forests ripe for big fires, because more flammable small trees and heavy brush are often left in the forest after the larger stands of timber have been taken out, said the report, by the Congressional Research Service, which analyzes policy for Congress."
Governor Racicot and Republican gubernatorial Candidate July Martz ignoring Montana drought conditions. Opinion. Billings Gazette.
Conservation News Stories in Western Wolf Country
September - October 2000
Please be aware that not all articles and links will be working as some of the sources do not keep archives.