Remember the leaked memos from the Department of Interior identifying how millions of acres of the West could be turned into national monuments with the stroke of the President’s pen? The Department denied that any such plans were in the works, as did other agencies that have since been identified as having a role in now partially-released documents. CLICK HERE to read that leaked memo.
While we’re waiting for more documentation on that, a group of meetings to be held in Montana nearly snuck by unpublicized. The meetings are open to the public and are slated to be about the “Great Outdoors Initiative,” an initiative that has a striking resemblance to what was talked about in those leaked national monument memos.
How real is this? According to an update from Citizens for Balanced Use, an email released from the World Wildlife Federation – an apparent partner in this new initiative – expresses concern about whether Governor Schweitzer’s ranch will be part of the new “treasured landscapes.” The release tells that Gina DeFarrari of the World Wildlife Federation assured Ned Farquhar that the Governor’s ranch is not in either of the areas being looked at in Montana. She states that the ranch is “on the western boundary of the Northern Plains ecoregion, as we define it, but outside these two landscapes.” Who is Ned Farquhar? He holds the title of the Department of the Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management. The two landscapes she brings up are seemingly what they refer to as the “Bitter Creek Landscape” and the “Montana Glaciated Plains.” Together the two add up to over 6.5 million acres.
There are going to be two events going on with the “Great Outdoors Initiative” next Tuesday and three more meetings dealing with it on Wednesday morning. We’ve been told that Secretary Vilsack is scheduled to be present on Tuesday. Along with the Secretary, Governor Schweitzer, Senator Baucus and Senator Tester also have it on their schedules.
On that day, from 11:30 a.m. 1:00 p.m., there will be a site visit/listening session at the Blackfoot Community Conservation Area.
From Missoula, follow I-90 approximately 6 miles east to Bonner, take exit #109 onto State Highway 200 east toward Bonner/Great Falls. Follow highway 200 to mile marker 44.6, turn left (north) on Monture Creek Road (dirt road, directly across from the turn off to Ovando), Follow BCCA signs on Monture Creek Road for 2.15 miles, turn right into Blackfoot Community Conservation Area and follow road up hill 3.2 miles to meeting site (following BCCA signs). Total driving time to BCCA from Missoula is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Following that will be the “Crown of the Continent” event from 1 to 4. This will be held at the Rolling Rock Ranch just outside of Ovando.
The Rolling Stone Ranch is located at mile marker 43.8 on Montana State Highway 200. From Missoula, follow I-90 east to Bonner. Take exit #109 onto State Highway 200 east toward Bonner/Great Falls. Follow Highway 200 to just before Ovando, MT. Travel time is about one hour from Missoula. Turn north through gate on ranch road directly across from ranch main entrance—look for signs. General MapQuest directions: https://www.mapquest.com/maps?1c=Missoula&1s=MT&1y=US&1l=46.8722&1g=-113.993103&1v=CITY&2c=Ovando&2s=MT&2y=US&2l=47.020302&2g=-113.132202&2v=CITY
Then on Wednesday, starting at 9 a.m., there will be three meetings held simultaneously. One will be at the Red Lion Colonial Inn in Helena, another in the Strand Union Building at Montana State University in Bozeman and the third in the University Center at University of Montana.
An announcement coming out late in the day yesterday had stated that you needed to RSVP by 10:00 last night to be part of these meetings. We’ve since been told that they are public and they will not be turning anyone away.
© Northern Ag Network 2010