Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Stop Persecuting our Fellow Predators

Everything we hunters love about elk – their speed, wariness, agility, intelligence – was shaped and honed through thousands of years of coevolution with wolves, bears, mountain lions and coyotes. Predators helped make elk what they are, and predators help keep elk what they are.  In the wilds, everything is intimately connected; the health of the whole depends on every part. When I merge into the wilds to hunt, I feel part of the whole -- not merely a visitor to the wilds, but a participant; a predator.

I love wild elk meat, but also see myself as a vegetarian of sorts -- living off the wild grasses, sedges and forbs that grow near my home in western Montana. Most of these plants are not palatable to humans, so I let elk convert them to protein for me. Perhaps someday I will travel through the digestive system of a grizzly and fertilize the vegetation that elk eat: Seems only fair considering all the elk I've killed and eaten. We’re all connected.

Unfortunately, many hunters don’t see it this way. They show disdain and disrespect for our fellow predators. They see them as “competitors” killing and eating what they arrogantly and selfishly think is “theirs” instead of trying to understand the vital, ecological role they play in shaping and maintaining what they claim to love. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the ongoing war on wolves.

Idaho Fish and Game recently hired a paid bounty hunter to eliminate two wolf packs in a wilderness. Idaho hunters have organized wolf-killing competitions and co-ops to pay trappers to kill wolves. The state legislature and governor declared wolves a "disaster emergency" and allocated $2 million to killing wolves. More recently Idaho Fish and Game conducted secretive aerial shootings of wolves from helicopters without public knowledge or input; they spent $30,000 to kill 23 wolves. Idaho Fish and Game is doing this and more in an ongoing effort to appease hunters to protect livestock and maintain artificially high and unhealthy numbers of elk for hunters to shoot.

Elk populations are increasing in most of the West. State wildlife departments are expanding elk hunting to reduce elk populations while simultaneously killing wolves under the guise of protecting and boosting elk numbers. Where elk populations do appear on the decline there are plenty of factors to consider in addition to wolves: Changes in habitat; a natural reduction in numbers where, prior to the return of wolves,  populations were artificially high; lack of mature bulls and low bull-to-cow ratios in herds (often resulting from early season hunting and too much hunting pressure on bull elk) which influences the timing of the rut and breeding behavior, the timing of spring calving influencing increased vulnerability of elk calves to predation; influence of other predators including mountain lions, black bears and grizzlies; unanticipated impacts of various hunting regulations and hunting pressure, and changes in behavior and habitat use by elk in the presence of wolves.

Where I hunt, the growing presence of wolves has changed the behavior and habits of elk. Elk bunch up more for safety, and move around more to evade and avoid wolves. They are a lot more wary. I have adapted and adjusted to these changes and have no problem finding elk. This is part of the beauty and value of hunting within wilderness -- to adjust, adapt and be part of the landscape; to be, as my friend David Petersen put it, part of the "bedrock workings of nature." We render the wilds a diminished abstract when we alter it to suit our own needs and desires and, in the process, make it less healthy and whole. There are those who espouse the virtues of backcountry hunting and yet seem apathetic or supportive towards the destruction of backcountry integrity. Those who understand the wilds know how critically important predators are to the health of the land. To remain silent about the nonscientific, politically-based killing of wolves in the wildest of places is to be complacent towards the degradation of what we claim to cherish.

One of the cornerstones of our North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is that wildlife be managed based on good science.  That good science shows the return of wolves to much of the western United States has resulted in significant, long-term benefits to wildlife and the habitat that sustains them -- including the species we love to hunt.

Predators are rarely managed based on science or for the benefit of predators and healthy ecosystems. They’re rarely managed in accordance of what most Americans accept. Hunters and anglers pay the bills through licenses and excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear and (along with governor-appointed commissioners) have lopsided power and influence over how wildlife is managed. Thus, wildlife management often leans more towards animal husbandry – producing more to catch and shoot sometimes to the detriment of other wildlife. Predators get a bad deal.

A recent report about the flaws of the North American Model summed it up this way:
"The scientists also express concern that the interests of recreational hunters sometimes conflict with conservation principles. For example, they say, wildlife management conducted in the interest of hunters can lead to an overabundance of animals that people like to hunt, such as deer, and the extermination of predators that also provide a vital balance to the ecosystem."

More than half a century ago Leopold wrote: "I personally believed, at least in 1914 when predator control began, that there could not be too much horned game, and that the extirpation of predators was a reasonable price to pay for better big game hunting. Some of us have learned since the tragic error of such a view, and acknowledged our mistake."

We still haven't caught up to Leopold.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Fired (Farewell MWF)

The Montana Wildlife Federation (MWF) has had a huge influence on my life. I strongly believed in their values, mission and goals. It has shaped my thoughts, beliefs and actions ever since I left the Marine Corps and moved to Montana in 1985. I used to volunteer for the organization. I helped lead the organization. I served two terms as the organization's president. I helped lead the organization's efforts to ban game farms in Montana. I received the organization's Les Pengelly Professional Conservationist Award. Many of the good folks involved in the organization are like family to me. (See Preserving a Tradition.) More recently, I worked for the organization as their western Montana field representative.

I was fired.

I did the best I could. I strengthened relations with affiliate clubs; I revived an affiliate club; I was in the process of getting a new affiliate up and running; I helped advance protection of the Badger-Two Medicine area; I helped create awareness and support for the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act; I rallied hunters and anglers to comment on the draft revisions of the Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest Plan; I generated OpEds and letters-to-the editors advancing our mission and goals; I developed and strengthened relationships with partners and members; I wrote numerous articles and essays for MWF's newsletter and blog; I represented MWF at fairs, brewery events, film festivals and sportsmen shows, and I helped advance the mission, goals and objectives of an organization I have long been part of, and been passionate about, in an honest, credible, professional manner. I put in long hours and I worked hard. Affiliate leaders, partners and members seemed happy with my work. 

When I received my 6-month evaluation and workplan review, my boss, the executive director, made valuable suggestions on how I could improve, but said I was doing a good job. I followed through on his suggestions. By all indications, he was pleased with me and my work.

I first sensed a change when I posted an article regarding ballot initiatives on my own time and on my own personal blog. This was while the Montana “trapping” initiative I-177 was up for a vote, which would have banned recreational trapping on public lands. I was careful not to take a stance on the issue in that personal essay, but rather discussed how – through poor behavior, denial of science, and ignoring and even often ridiculing other citizens who should have a say in how public lands and wildlife are managed – we can sometimes bring these initiatives upon ourselves. It resonated with a lot of people, including fellow hunters. It did not contradict MWF policy, but I could understand how it could be perceived that way. We almost lost an affiliate because one of their leaders was upset. Understandably, my boss was not happy. He told me to immediately remove the blog and sign a note stating I would not write or post such things again. I understood, admitted to a lack of judgement, signed the note and thought all was good.  I even patched things up with the disgruntled affiliate and its leaders.

A month or so later, the boss became upset about a photograph I posted on my own, personal Facebook Page of me with a blackeye. He claimed that a “funder” had complained about the photo and said it portrayed a “negative” image of MWF and could hurt MWF’s ability to accomplish its mission and goals. I told him I would be more careful in what I post on my personal page and blog, and I was.

At this point, I believe it became personal for the boss; he simply did not like me. It no longer had anything to do with my performance. His entire attitude towards, and treatment of me became akward and uncomfortable.

Then I missed some conference calls for legitimate reasons (on the road and out of cell range; in the hospital with my son) with our partner organizations in regards to the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act and the Upper Blackfoot Campaign. One of the partners was upset with me, so I met with him and worked things out. I agreed to a list of tasks he wanted me to accomplish. It was a good, honest, airing of grievances of which I was not previously fully aware of, and served to clarify my role and what I needed to do.  Our partners seemed fine with our resolution; the boss was not. He had me sign another note outlining specific goals and expectations. One of those was to not miss any more conference calls.  I took it very seriously. I posted it over my desk and read it every morning. I did my best to meet all goals and expectations – although I felt like the boss was setting the stage to fire me and waiting for me to fail.

A few weeks ago, I asked the boss if I could take some time off to go on a spring-break road trip with my son. I assured him I would be on all scheduled conference calls. He gave me the go-ahead. We were in East Glacier on the day of one of the conference calls. Cell coverage in East Glacier is iffy, so my plan was to drive atop a hill between East Glacier and Browning where coverage is usually strong and where I have parked and participated in conference calls before, while working on the Badger-Two.  Cory and I drove to the spot. Unfortunately, a storm had blown in and I kept getting cut off the call, and missed the conference call. I drove to Browning and sent an apology to our partners and explained what happened. They seemed fine. In fact, one partner wrote back: “No worries, enjoy your break.”

I explained the situation to my boss. His response: “If you really wanted to be on the call you would have been on the call.” (Apparently, he’s never been between East Glacier and Browning during a storm.)

He fired me.

That’s my story. I have talked to a lawyer about a possible “wrongful discharge” suit. We’ll see. I have mixed emotions; it’s a tough thing to prove, and I still strongly support the mission, goals and objective of MWF.  However, I doubt I will be actively involved anymore unless the current executive director leaves.  He's an arrogant, bureaucratic number-cruncher who cares more about perception, image and money than wildlife and wild places. His every move is dictated by the foundations he's good at soliciting money from.

It may be a good thing. I’m a stubborn, passionate, opinionated guy and my views on a few things – such as wolves, grizzlies and trapping – are not always in-line with MWF (and therein lies the likely roots of it all). I am already enjoying my freedom to once-again write about those issues. I’m going to make a go of writing and photography and see what happens; it’s more suited to me and my wild ways.  

Friday, March 31, 2017

Grizzlies: A Renewable Resource?

I just read an article in Petersen's Hunting called "Should We Hunt Grizzly Bears?" by David Hart. He quotes Mac Minard, Executive Director of the Montana Outfitter and Guide Association: "They should be hunted because they are a renewable resource."

A "renewable resource"?

Grizzly bears? Rugs? Claws?

A commodity?

"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." -- Aldo Leopold

Grizzly bears . . . a "renewable resource"?

There's no love and respect in that.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

We Don't Need to Hunt Grizzlies (Nor Should We)

Photo from a hunting-guide service called the "Grizzinator."
"Nothing good will ever come from killing a grizzly bear. Much good can come from respecting its right to continue to roam the land.” – Phil Timpany

Many hunters and wildlife professionals say we need to hunt grizzlies to “manage” them, and that grizzly hunting-tag revenue is needed to pay for the management. I don’t buy it. 

We should manage bears like bears, not deer and elk. Deer and elk evolved as prey; they produce high numbers of fawns and calves because they feed a lot of animals above them on the food chain, including many of us humans who hunt. Grizzlies evolved as predators; they don’t produce a lot of cubs. Their populations are tenuously self-regulating (something we should learn from them). We should manage them accordingly.

We should manage grizzlies in a manner best for the bears; we should manage them based on science, ethics and social desires; we should manage them to allow for the space they need and deserve; we should manage them by improving people's knowledge of grizzlies and how to best prevent conflicts; we should manage them by allowing them the benefit of the doubt and erring on the side of caution; we should manage them by giving "troubled" bears every chance we can, and we should manage them by occasionally (as a last resort), killing certain individual bears if they become a socially unacceptable danger.

Who will pay for this? The American people should, all of us, because a huge majority of Americans want, support and appreciate that we still have wild grizzlies and the wild places to sustain them. Most Americans are fascinated with grizzlies, a fascination that has existed since humans drew pictures of them on rocks. Grizzlies are different. Myth, fear, awe, reality, science . . . all of it and more always has and always will influence the powerful mystique and perception of grizzlies.

For a long time we killed them. We killed them to near extinction. (Some subspecies are extinct, existing now only in our imaginations or places like the California flag.) I assume most Americans agreed with such a policy, until leaders like Theodore Roosevelt came along. We’ve winnowed them down to a tiny fraction of the once-immense territory they historically roamed. I suspect all people with empathy and compassion in their hearts are saddened by this. They should be. I am.

Most Americans respect grizzlies. Most Americans will not accept or tolerate the killing of grizzlies for trophies, amusement and ego. Most Americans feel disgusted to see hunters proudly standing over dead bodies of a once-powerful living presence they killed for no legitimate, no acceptable justification. I’m one of those Americans, and I’m a hunter. 

When I kill an elk or deer, I feel grateful, humbled and saddened but happy to be part of the wilds -- to kill my own meat in a respectful, ethical, sustainable way. Nonhunters I know understand and support that. They accept hunters killing deer and elk to fill freezers; they don’t accept hunters killing grizzlies to fill egos.

We should not manage grizzlies to boost numbers of prey species so we have more to kill. (I’ve heard fellow hunters say that we need to kill elk and deer to keep populations in check, but we need to kill predators to boost the number of animals we need to kill to keep their numbers down.) We should not kill grizzlies to raise money to protect them.

That is not wildlife management based on good, sound science or social acceptability.

Predators are rarely managed based on sound science or for the benefit of predators and healthy, functioning ecosystems. They’re rarely managed in accordance of what a majority of Americans accept. Hunters and anglers pay the bills through licenses and excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear and (along with governor-appointed commissioners) have lopsided power and influence over how wildlife is managed. As a result, wildlife management often leans more towards animal husbandry – producing more to catch and shoot sometimes to the detriment of other wildlife. Predators usually get a bad deal.

We’re stuck in a wildlife-management paradigm that attempts to justify indefensible death; it’s time for change.

All Americans should help pay for and influence how wildlife is managed. We don’t need to sell grizzly-tags to fund the management of grizzlies. Let’s get an excise tax on all outdoor gear – not just hunting and fishing equipment. Let’s create a license for nonhunters who want to buy one. Let’s create a grizzly stamp to sell and raise money much like we do with duck stamps. Let’s try something different. Let’s take some power and influence from those who wrongly insist we need to hunt grizzlies. 

Grizzlies face enough uncertainty with impacts from human encroachment, habitat loss and degradation, and climate change. Warmer temperatures, less snow, earlier snowmelt and more drought has already caused a decline in white-bark pine nuts, berries and other bear food. To err on the side of caution we should not even be considering delisting grizzlies from federal endangered species status and turning management over states eager to kill them. Not yet. But if we do, we don’t need to hunt them.

There is no biologically or social justification to hunt grizzlies. We should manage them with the respect and reverence they deserve. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Ballot Box Biology?

Last year, Montanans for Trap-Free Public Lands launched a noble, but unfortunately failed, ballot initiative called I-177 that would have banned trapping on public lands. Trappers responded with the usual slew of lies that many Montanans always seem to swallow, claiming that the initiative was backed by “out-of-state animal rights extremists” who “are uninformed about wildlife and are trying to destroy our way of life.”  And the old slippery slope fallacy:  "Once they stop trapping, they will come after hunting, and fishing, and ranching, and logging and Tiddlywinks!" Many of my fellow hunters came to the defense of trappers, repeating the same tiresome, easily-refuted lies.

Such is the simple-minded, ignorant responses I often see from fellow hunters, particularly in regards to predators. It’s all black and white to them; you’re either “one of us, or one of them.” There is little, if any room for civil, rational, reasonable discussion and debate; if you don’t agree, they attack with Trump-like, childish fervor.

A lot of hunters and hunting organizations also dusted off the old “ballot box biology” defense – that such decisions should be made by wildlife professionals based on good, sound science, not by citizens based on emotions. We hunters love to claim wildlife management is based on good, sound science. One of the very tenants of our North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (which is tossed around nowadays and interpreted by many hunters who don't actually understand it like the Bundy crowd talks about and interprets the Constitution) is that wildlife management be based on good, sound science. It should be, but it’s often not.

In Idaho, the fish and game department conducts aerial shooting of wolves and sends bounty hunters into wilderness areas to eliminate wolf packs despite the good, sound science and what we know about wolf behavior, ecology and biology.

That’s not management based on good, sound science.

Throughout the West, we continue to carry out a war on coyotes and wolves despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that such actions disrupt the social and breeding behavior of these animals and can, ironically, result in even more coyotes and wolves. (
See "Killing Wolves: A Hunter-Led War on Science and Wildife")

That’s not management based on good, sound science.

I remember when Colorado proposed a ban on the baiting and killing of bears, based on scientific evidence that the baiting of bears was having negative impacts on bears by habituating them to human handouts and changing their natural habits and habitat use. The state’s chief bear biologist at the time, Tom Beck, penned a piece in support of the baiting ban for Outdoor Life. Before it was published (and before anyone even read it) hunters and hunting organizations rallied against Outdoor Life and successfully prevented the publication of the piece. Two editors left their jobs over the incidence. (See
"Hunters Close Ranks and Minds" by Ted Williams.)

That’s not management based on good, sound science.

In the Clearwater region of Idaho several years ago, black bears were killing an unusually high number of elk calves.  Research showed that the calves had become more susceptible to predation because a lack of mature bulls in the herd, from hunting, had changed elk breeding behavior and timing, causing calves to be born late, missing the flush spring forage, and not gaining enough strength quickly enough to evade predators. Researchers recommended changes in hunting regulations and motorized access to reduce bull elk vulnerability, increase habitat security and boost the number of mature bulls in the herd.  Idaho citizens didn’t buy it. They demanded more bears be shot and killed. Idaho Fish and Game appeased the hunters.

That’s not management based on good, sound science.

Wildlife management decisions are often and largely based on public needs and desires, and that should be part of it. But sometimes those needs and desires go against good, sound science. Trappers, hunters and the agricultural industry have a lot of power over our legislature and wildlife management.  Other citizens often, and justifiably, feel left out of the decision-making, and they are often ridiculed and attacked by ignorant, arrogant hunters and trappers. Many hunters and hunting organizations tend to either avoid these controversial issues or take the side of hunters to appease their base (or, as Aldo Leopold put it, to satisfy the “lowest common denominator.”)  Our system, with all its tremendous achievements, has some flaws, and those flaws can lead us closer to animal husbandry than good, sound, science-based wildlife management.

A recent report about the
flaws of the North American Model summed it up this way: "The scientists also express concern that the interests of recreational hunters sometimes conflict with conservation principles. For example, they say, wildlife management conducted in the interest of hunters can lead to an overabundance of animals that people like to hunt, such as deer, and the extermination of predators that also provide a vital balance to the ecosystem."

But hunters tend to circle the wagons and defend the indefensible out of paranoia and fear of anti-hunters and the slippery slope (“but if we let them stop bear-baiting, or game farms, or drones, or trapping, they will surely try to stop hunting, take our guns, and destroy America and the universe!”) But as my friend Jim Posewitz likes to say, “circling the wagons is not a good defense when there are far too many people already outside that circle.”

And some of those people outside the circle are good, knowledgeable, informed people who care about our wildlife and wild places. Some of them are fellow hunters. We alienate them by dismissing their concerns and attacking and insulting them. We turn people against us when we circle the wagons and defend the indefensible and insult intelligent people who disagree -- informed people who sometimes have more good, sound science on their side than we do.

I recently heard a guy who makes hunting videos -- and hunts for amusement, entertainment and profit -- criticize the “animal rights extremists” who file lawsuits to protect wolves, claiming such lawsuits went against “sound, scientific management” and our “North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.”  And yet those citizens – many of them informed by good, sound science -- filed those lawsuits in response to states doing things such as gunning down wolves from helicopters and sending in bounty hunters to eliminate packs in wilderness areas. 

That’s not management based on good, sound science.

The executive director of a large, influential hunting organization has repeatedly called wolves “the worst ecological disaster since the decimation of bison,” and claims wolves and grizzly bears are “annihilating” our elk herds. (See, "A Once Proud Conservation Organization Has Lost Its Way")

That’s not promoting or supporting management based on good, sound science.

Our behavior and actions can bring about lawsuits and ballot initiatives. Some of these ballot initiatives are, indeed, “ballot box biology” in the sense that they defend and demand good, sound science when state wildlife agencies won’t.

We’re our own worst enemies. We bring these ballot initiatives on ourselves. If we don't change our ways, we best get used to it.

The famed ecologist Aldo Leopold, widely considered the "father of wildlife management," changed his ways after killing a wolf when he was hired to hunt and trap mountain lions, bears and wolves for the Forest Service early in his career. In an essay called "Thinking Like A Mountain" he wrote:

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.”

From his experiences grew what he called a "land ethic," that acknowledges the importance of all living things in an ecosystem. In his 1949 classic, "A Sand County Almanac," he defined it as such: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

Nearly 68 years later we still haven't caught up.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Keep Public Lands in Public Hands!

Like people everywhere, we Montanans don’t always agree. We often engage in spirited debates and disagreements about how our wildlife and wild places should or shouldn’t be managed. But one thing that unites most all of us: Our love for public lands.

Setting aside these lands is one of the greatest things our nation ever did. It's a unique American heritage that, particularly here in Montana, shapes and enhances our lives. For many of us, it defines who we are. What would life be like without the freedom to hunt, fish and roam our public wild lands?

If some folks get their way, we might find out.

There is a bill under consideration in Congress that would lead to the sale of our public lands throughout the West, including Montana. Several Montana state legislators support and promote efforts to sell or transfer our public lands. There are powerful, influential organizations, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council and the American Lands Council, pushing for the sale or transfer of our public lands.

We won’t let them have it.

We Montanans get pretty riled up about proposals to sell or transfer our public lands. Yesterday, January 30, more than 1,000 of us, from all walks of life -- Democrats, Republicans, hunters, anglers, environmentalists, bird watchers, hikers, photographers, loggers, ranchers, Native Americans, and others, from all over Montana -- converged on the Capitol in Helena to convey a loud, clear, unified message: KEEP OUR PUBLIC LANDS IN PUBLIC HANDS!

As Governor Steve Bullock succinctly put it at yesterday’s rally in the Capitol: “Every one of us owns these public lands, and the beauty is we don’t need permission to go on them, do we? Efforts to sell or transfer public lands have no place in this building and no place in Montana.”

These are our lands; we plan to keep them.

Thanks to the groups who organized and sponsored this great rally:
Montana Wilderness Association, Montana Conservation Voters, Montana Audubon, and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers -- and thank you to everyone who showed up.
If you'd like to show your support for Montana's public lands, please sign this petition: mtgreatoutdoors.org

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

These Lands Are OUR Lands: Let's Keep It That Way!

On Tuesday night, January 24, 2017, several hundred people gathered at the Radisson Colonial Hotel in  Helena, Montana, to learn about the recently-released draft Forest management plan revisions for the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. This was the second of nine public hearings being held throughout western Montana during which we citizens -- local citizens -- could participate in and influence the future management of OUR public lands.

Contrary to what those who want to sell and transfer OUR public lands claim, there were no bureaucrats from Washington D.C. there, who know nothing about the land, dictating how the forest will be managed. However, there were local Forest Service wildlife biologists, foresters, engineers, fisheries biologists, timber specialists and other experts there, folks who live here, who are our friends and neighbors, who know and study the land, all there to share their knowledge and recommendations based on good science.

There were no "out-of-state environmental extremists" there, as opponents of public lands would have you believe, "forcing their agendas" upon us poor local folk. However, there were a diversity of local Montanans from all walks of life -- hunters, anglers, hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers, snowmobilers, off-road vehicle enthusiasts, bird watchers, photographers, loggers, ranchers, miners, business owners, community leaders and others -- sharing their views and opinions on how they'd like to see OUR public land managed.

We don't all always agree. Some of us locals would like to see less logging, less motorized use and more wilderness. On the other hand, some of us locals would like to see more logging, more motorized use and less wilderness.

The professionals who work for the Forest Service listen, consider all views and opinions, and strive to strike a balance that protects fish and wildlife while meeting their multiple-use mandate, supporting local communities, and meeting the needs and desires of local citizens and all we Americans who own OUR public land.

Compromise is key. Not everybody gets everything they want. That displeases some folks in the extractive industries -- who would like to see all of OUR land open to unsustainable logging, grazing and mining regardless of its impacts to fish, wildlife and recreation -- people who put greed and profit above all else.

So they make up lies. They tell people that all decisions regarding the management of OUR public lands are dictated by bureaucrats in D.C., and "out-of-state environmental extremists," so they can rally people to support misguided efforts to transfer and sell OUR public lands.

Ironically, most of the people leading the attack on our public lands are out-of-state representatives of extractive industries and their corporate lobbyists in D.C. They want OUR public land, and they perpetuate and disseminate lies, myths and misconceptions in their fear-mongering, deceptive efforts to take away what belongs to all of us.

They want to steal OUR public lands.

We won't let them have it. These lands are OUR lands, and we all have a say in how they're managed. Don't let greed and profit consume OUR lands. Get involved; keep it public.