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  1. #51
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    Jan 2013
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    Yes, alexsienkiewicz@fs.fed.us


    Advocates outraged over reassignment of Forest Service ranger

    Landowner concerns over Sienkiewicz’s work to preserve public access to the Crazy Mountains near Big Timber were brought up to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue as recently as late May. Perdue was in Montana for the Montana Ag Summit, and he met with several agriculture groups along with Montana’s Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines.

    The Montana Stockgrowers Association was part of the meeting. Jay Bodner, the natural resources director for the Stockgrowers Association, said each group in the meeting had a variety of concerns, and that public access conflicts in the Crazies was one issue for his group.

    “We did have a number of our members kind of concerned with the access issue there in the Crazies,” Bodner said.

  2. #52
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    Aug 2009
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    Paradise Lost
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    194

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    Thanks and thanks again for your hard work Kat.
    "if we allow the freedom of the hills and the last of the wilderness to be taken from us, then the very idea of freedom may die with it."

    -Edward Abbey

  3. #53
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    Jan 2013
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    Bozeman, MT
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    You're welcome Hunts.

    You know that saying, "Hell hath no fury like a public trust woman when the public trust is scorned"?

  4. #54

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    Thanks again to Kat and to Rob. MSA is watching with interest!
    Joe

  5. #55
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Gallatin Gateway, MT
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    1,977

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    A huge thanks to Rob and Kat. Thank-you for the email address for Alex. He responded with appreciation for support to my message. I strongly encourage Hunttalkers to contact Alex and express gratitude for his standing up for public access to public lands.

  6. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by katqanna View Post
    You're welcome Hunts.

    You know that saying, "Hell hath no fury like a public trust woman when the public trust is scorned"?
    That's funny and I'm glad you're on our side Kat! Thanks a million for all the time you spend on this stuff!

  7. #57
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    Jan 2013
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    Bozeman, MT
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    I have been getting the next batch of documents done to post, it has a refutation pdf collection of pages including screenshots and FOIA pages, as well as the original letter from the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, which includes MOGA, to Senator Daines; the letter from certain landowners to Ag Sec. Purdue and Sen. Daines, both of which include the false allegations.

    I saw an old news article that Brett French did in 2006, where one of the outfitting landowners in the Crazy Mountains, the northern end, tried to go through Sen. Conrad Burns at the time, to get his access while locking out the public. Similar to Daines being on these ag, forest and public lands subcommittees using his connection, Burns was on the Appropriations subcommittee. He added a rider to the 2007 Appropriations bill that would give the landowner access, forcing the Forest Service to only have administrative access, instead of the reciprocity required in policy, that would include public access.

    Rancher, foresters spar over access

  8. Default

    How times have changed...Mac might let a few of his buddies in there, but he isn't as gracious towards the average Joe as he makes himself sound in that interview. His cattle graze that ground until it looks like the surface of the moon too.

  9. #59
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    Jan 2013
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    Bozeman, MT
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    I have read through years of FS and seasonal help maintenance reports and the cows, a number of landowners cows, have been brought up, that there were cow pies all over the campground, riparian areas destroyed, fences downed and cattle out well beyond the lease time period.

  10. #60
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    3,829

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    I remember seeing something about reciprocity up the Sweet Grass in those FOIA docs... didn't go over too well.

    This was in the article you linked to. Interesting how they protested access to state land.
    During the 1993 big-game season, however, White did close public access to his ranch in protest of the State Land Board's decision to allow bird watchers and hikers access to state school trust lands. He joined several other property owners in the area, and together they closed access to 317,000 private acres.

  11. #61

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    'The Public is always welcome to knock on my door and go'.

    I might have to try that.

  12. #62
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Three Forks, Mt
    Posts
    941

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    Yep, I was shaking my head after reading the recent article about Sienkiewicz getting dismissed.
    What further annoyed me regarding the article is that it never stated the name(s) of the persons/parties that were on the other side of the dispute.

  13. #63

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    This may be a blessing in disguise for this gentleman. The opportunity to become a form of lobbyist in this field may fulfill a personal passion and based on his experience I believe he would be a valued political draft, number one pick. Pro public land organizations, Wildlife organizations, outdoor recreation organizations, might be a valuable add.
    Live to work or work to live... Your choice

  14. Default

    When I was deployed to the Middle East back in the spring of 2014 I wrote full page, hand written letters to 14 different landowners on the East side of the Crazies asking for permission merely to cross and access the public. All were sent off with self addressed stamped envelopes, I got a response from 1, with a no. So, I walked in from the West side and spent 14 days in there. If I would have shot an elk it would have been a chore getting him out, but I didn't. Also called him and asked if I could come in and pull camp from the East after a huge storm made the trail from the West impassable. He called me a son of a bitch and hung up on me, and I was as polite as can be. Mac White can say what he wants to a journalist, I know who he really is.

  15. #65
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    Jan 2013
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    Bozeman, MT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hem View Post
    Yep, I was shaking my head after reading the recent article about Sienkiewicz getting dismissed.
    What further annoyed me regarding the article is that it never stated the name(s) of the persons/parties that were on the other side of the dispute.
    Hem, they didn't state names because they don't have them yet. They could name the names, and people think, "so what?" But what I have been working on to get out, hopefully tomorrow, is that A, B, and C, alleged and did 1,2,3 - refuted by this evidence..., I feel, is far more important than just slinging a name out, and far more responsible.

    They didn't get what they wanted from Mary Erickson last summer, so they shopped for another official to do their bidding and then they orchestrated the take down of a good man, a good public trust servant for their greed.

    Rather than unleashing an angry mob at some names, better to reveal why and how they did it, and arm the public with means to fight back.

  16. #66
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
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    Hi Folks,
    Sorry for being out of touch for so long; I had some family issues come up. Now that they are settled I’ll give an accounting as I promised.

    Total Contributions $ 7895.00 Includes $500 contribution by me
    Total PayPal Fees ($ 237.22) About 3% plus $0.30/transaction
    Attorney’s Fees ($ 2500.00) Karl Knuchell
    Website, FOIs, research (Kat) ($ 500.00) By Enhancing Montana Wildlife and Habitat
    Park County Environmental Council ($ 100.00) Donation
    Settlement ($ 500.00) Paid for by my $500 donation
    Remainder $ 4057.78

    The donation to the Sweet Grass Community Foundation to settle the case came out of my own pocket. I’m not happy that this was the best option I was given; I wish I could have found a more aggressive attorney to get it thrown out, but the fact of the matter is that not many attorneys were interested in such a minor case. If you need to do something similar, I’d recommend lining up a criminal attorney first if you think going past a no trespassing sign will help (such as bringing the issue to a head or gaining standing to sue).

    My first priority for the remaining $4057.78 is protecting trail #136/115 or alternatively the Low-Line trail on the west side of the Crazy Mountains. If these trails require litigation we will have to raise considerably more money.

    Please be patient. We are in a holding pattern right now. Landowners from both the west and east side of the Crazy Mountains are negotiating with the Forest Service and other interested parties. I’m waiting to see how that turns out before allocating any money to any cause.

    I want to plug a few groups that have been helpful:

    For groups stepping up and incurring costs, the leader is Park County Environmental Council (http://envirocouncil.org). I hadn’t even heard of this Livingston group when they contacted me offering help “in any way they can.” Since then they have actively engaged the landowners, trail users, and the Forest Service to try and negotiate a solution. They are skilled organizers with vision. I allocated $100 of your donations to them to show appreciation for actively trying to find a solution. They recently co-wrote a guest view that is making the rounds in the newspapers. I don't know if a collaborative approach will work, but it is a better approach than suing the piss out of everyone.

    A close second is Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (http://www.backcountryhunters.org/). They have been supportive and actively engaged since I learned of the disputed trail a year ago. Trust me, they are taking a serious look at this and I support their decision to stay out of the Sienkiewicz/Daines brouhaha without a clear understanding of the facts. This is a new area for them so they are slow and need “encouragement,” but they could wind up being the premier group in protecting our trails from unlawful closure.

    On your watch list should be Friends of the Crazy Mountains and Montana Wildlife Foundation. FOCM is a new group primarily concerned with a similarly contested trail on the west side of the Crazies and MWF is a Montana Powerhouse that has recently got involved. Both groups could become extremely important in improving access. I disagree with PLWA claim that they need money to fund their level of engagement at this time, but that could change.

    I would be remiss without mentioning Kat QannaYahu of Enhancing Montana’s Wildlife and Habitat (www.emwh.org). I have a different style of publicity than she does, but there is no denying she is an incredible researcher and she made a big difference with the information she has gathered for this issue. As you know, she is a one woman ass kicker who works entirely on donations. It is rumored she is the only person Chuck Norris fears.

    Once again, please be patient regarding the remaining money. As I mentioned we are in a holding pattern, waiting to see how negotiations with the landowner are going. I’m pretty sure the landowner is holding this trail hostage in exchange for a land swap, and I feel we should sue his butt on principle, but an amicable solution is far better than litigation.

    My biggest concern at this time is what is occurring at the national level. There is a push to prohibit the Forest Service from defending these trails. We need to force Daines into taking a position on this and see if he really believes that public land should remain in public hands, or if landowners can privatize it at their pleasure. More on that later.

    Last edited by RobG; 08-25-2017 at 09:29 AM.

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