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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobG View Post
    Only us. As long as it is private land and there is no recorded easement the only thing stopping the landowner from posting the trail is public activism. I have a memo from 2002 from Gallatin National Forest, prior to merging with Custer National Forest. 200-250 miles of the trails cross private land. The majority of those and have no recorded easement so they are at risk. In addition to the Crazy Mountains, the situation exists in Paradise Valley, North Bridgers, Cinnabar/Tom Miner Basin, and north Madison.
    Wow. And that is just the Gallatin portion of the Custer-Gallatin? It would probably be pretty horrifying to find out all the "public" trails for which there is no recorded easement across Montana. Reading your summary, it seems like a lot hinges on the whims of the local Prosecutor.
    “The hand that reaches from the grave to grip your throat is the strong hand you want on the wheel.” - Dwight Schrute

  2. #27
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    Jun 2009
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    There is no question the agencies are not properly funded or there wouldn't be the huge back-log of work that we currently have.
    This statement by Buzz in the Zinke thread emphasizes the back-log of public land work which is the usual work you would expect to be accomplished to manage and maintain our public lands. Obviously there is a shortage of funding available for the respective agencies to pursue such easements and to maintain public access, particularly when it involves such closures and push-back from landowners. If it weren't for PLWA and determined principled citizens like Rob, then there would be a lot more closed trails and access roads.

  3. #28
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    There are public employees who are principled stewards of our trust, but they get gagged and handcuffed most of the time by private interests and bureaucratic superiors.

    This administration's DOJ would not let Sankiewicz or Erickson testify at Rob's trial. PLWA began with some of those agency guys, some of the current leadership are retired FS. Dave Campbell, retired FS still works his ass off in the Bitterroot for access.

    There are currently Sweetgrass County residents who have been targeting Sankiewicz, complaining to superiors, trying to get him fired because he does his job, which includes access and maintenance. Then Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers sent opeds to quite a number of Montana papers about this case and were named in the first deal offered to Rob. I find that deal including the stockgrowers and farm bureau extremely disconcerting.

    For over a year I attended a Custer Gallatin National Forest working group, created and controlled by the ranching county commissioners, originally from 6 southern MT counties. Per one of their statements, which I have on audio, their group was created to increase logging of the forest and increase cattle grazing. They began inviting other groups to their table, which only they would approve, to make it appear more diverse in stakeholders. Timber companies, grazing associations, ranchers, mining companies, Kerry White's Citizens for Balanced Use, motorized recreation use (yes, they get representation twice), mountain bike group, agriculture, the Red Lodge Mountain Resort which I mentioned on the Beartooth "Public Lands" meeting previously, etc. They are not there to advocate for backcountry trails or restored or maintained public access on trails.

    This is a pattern playing out all over. For a public employee to do their job, they take a risk and incur a target on their chest by special interests. People more frequently send in complaint letters, but we need to take time from our schedules to thank and support our public employees, on the official records, carboning a copy to the employee for their records, who truly do work for us and the Trust. They need our cover from the organized special interest campaigns against them.
    Last edited by katqanna; 06-19-2017 at 02:36 PM.

  4. #29
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    Well, I just got notification, Alex Sankiewicz, the FS District Ranger of Livingston, was removed from this position on Friday because of the PERC and Sweetgrass County pressure. He was moved to another position, not a promotion.

    This is what this administration's $hit rolling downhill looks like for public lands and access.

  5. #30
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    Dec 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by katqanna View Post
    Well, I just got notification, Alex Sankiewicz, the FS District Ranger of Livingston, was removed from this position on Friday because of the PERC and Sweetgrass County pressure. He was moved to another position, not a promotion.

    This is what this administration's $hit rolling downhill looks like for public lands and access.
    I figured this was coming. The Sweet Grass crew has been pressuring our delegation. For those that don't know, Alex has been the number one advocate for keeping these trails open to the public. I hope he moved to a decent job and I hope the new District Ranger is on our side.

    rg

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by katqanna View Post
    Well, I just got notification, Alex Sankiewicz, the FS District Ranger of Livingston, was removed from this position on Friday because of the PERC and Sweetgrass County pressure. He was moved to another position, not a promotion.

    This is what this administration's $hit rolling downhill looks like for public lands and access.

    This is corruption. Plain and Simple.

    A public employee acts on the interests of the public and he is backhandedly reprimanded? WTF
    “The hand that reaches from the grave to grip your throat is the strong hand you want on the wheel.” - Dwight Schrute

  7. #32

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    Feudalism is alive and well in Montana.

  8. #33

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    Son of a Bitch, you mean elections actually have consequences, who woulda thunk..

  9. #34

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    Trickle down economic may not work, but trickle down corruption is alive and well.
    Elitist Hunter

    "Never let schooling [work] get in the way of your education" - Mark Twain

  10. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Range View Post
    This is corruption. Plain and Simple.

    A public employee acts on the interests of the public and he is backhandedly reprimanded? WTF
    Agree, that is one of the most disappointing things I've seen in a while.
    "Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map" - Aldo Leopold

    "Send a couple more slugs. It shows you care." - David Petzal

  11. #36
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    I just finished a FOIA request involving this and spoke with some journalists.

    And here is a link to the pdf of the first deal Sweet Grass County Attorney Pat Dringman offered Rob involving the Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers Assoc. and the MT Farm Bureau, so you can see for yourself. It's page 2, point 6.
    Last edited by katqanna; 06-19-2017 at 04:33 PM.

  12. #37
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    District ranger faces internal investigation over Crazy Mountain access dispute

    Erickson said allegations from an assortment of landowners in the Big Timber area were “raised to the level” of the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.
    This confirms what I included in my FOIA to prove, that the new USDA Secretary, with Sen. Daines, involved themselves in a local District Ranger issue, where the FS Ranger was actually doing his job with maintaining the FS Trail 115/136 and letting the public know it was on maps and part of the Travel Plan so they could utilize it for public access recreation.
    Last edited by katqanna; 06-19-2017 at 09:22 PM.

  13. #38
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    Aug 2011
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    So what is the path forward to have this trail declared public once and for all? Rob said the fight is not over, but I'm seeing what appears to be a lack of cooperation from the highest of levels in DC.

    I guess I'm baffled about the way forward?

  14. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by katqanna View Post
    District ranger faces internal investigation over Crazy Mountain access dispute
    This confirms what I included in my FOIA to prove, that the new USDA Secretary, with Sen. Daines, involved themselves in a local District Ranger issue, where the FS Ranger was actually doing his job with maintaining the FS Trail 115/136 and letting the public know it was on maps and part of the Travel Plan so they could utilize it for public access recreation.
    Edit: never mind.
    Last edited by Oak; 06-20-2017 at 08:18 AM. Reason: Discretion
    Every day I'm hustlin'....

    Hell is coming to breakfast.

  15. #40
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    Supporter of RobG, following this w much interest. One way forward would be to increase user challenge to the closure, making the individuals and agencies pushing the landowners' agenda more active and more obvious to the voting public. Public scrutiny of (IMO) illegal shenanigans @ the local, regional and national level is really the only influence that can bring enough pressure to bear. Some national media coverage would be useful.

  16. #41
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    Wow, not even trying to hide the corruption.
    "I'll put some whiskey into my whiskey"

  17. #42
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    Nov 2014
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    Wise River, MT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Range View Post
    This is corruption. Plain and Simple.

    A public employee acts on the interests of the public and he is backhandedly reprimanded? WTF
    Yep. This is down-right sickening.
    "The Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world" Del Gue

  18. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Range View Post
    This is corruption. Plain and Simple.

    A public employee acts on the interests of the public and he is backhandedly reprimanded? WTF
    +1
    The good ol'boys taking care of each other and the FS management bending over for them. If you are in with the local prosecutor you can do as you please with federal land. Nothing new in MT. Same ol' corrupt BS.
    RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME

  19. #44
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    Kat, please keep chasing this trail. It is very helpful to this cause of public access. Let us know how we can help.
    My name is Randy Newberg and I approved this post. What is written is my opinion, and my opinion only.

    "Hunt when you can. You're gonna run outta health before you run outta money."

  20. #45
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    NW Montana
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    Sad state of affairs, but I am not really surprised.

  21. #46
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    I got a call from the FOIA officer about my request, so it is being processed now.

    I wrote a letter to the Big Timber Pioneer editor, advocating for public land ownership rights and access, in case they do a story on this issue.

    I have some orchestrated letters from Senator Daines to USFS Chief Thomas Tidwell, getting involved in this process, which included a forward from the Montana Farm Bureau and a MOGA meeting discussion on the subject of Alex Sankiewicz advocating for public access. As well as a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and Sen. Daines from some of the ranch owners around the Crazy Mountains, again bringing up the Farm Bureau, Stockgrowers and MOGA. Chuck Rein in one of the signatories, who outfits over there and is Vice-President of MOGA. His place was one of the places I began researching a couple years ago. I will get these documents scanned and uploaded to a page for y'all to see.

    I sent a letter to both Region 1 Regional Forester Leann Marten and Custer Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson last fall, thanking them for District Ranger Alex Sankiewicz service to the public.

    If you would like to contact the Forest Service about this issue, as well as our senators, this would be a good time.

    Chief USFS Thomas Tidwell ttidwell@fs.fed.us 202-205-8439

    Region 1 Forester Leann Marten lmarten@fs.fed.us 406-329-3315

    Custer Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson mcerickson@fs.fed.us 406-587-6949

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