2 Jun 2009, 11:01am
Bears Homo sapiens
by admin

Grizzly Bait and Switch Proposed

by RRS

Just some thoughts I wanted to pass along on a story I saw in a local paper. Evidently the USFS is looking for excuses to shut people out of our public forests. The latest game: lock out the public to allegedly save a growing population of not-really-endangered grizzly bears.

Here’s the article:

by Becky Kramer, Spokesman Review, May 5, 2009 [here]

Protecting grizzly bears across a 4,560-square-mile swath of the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains will require closing hundreds of miles of backcountry roads used by hunters and huckleberry pickers, the Forest Service says.

Grizzlies need secure areas to avoid contact with people, according to a new agency report. Despite 2-inch claws and a fierce reputation – the grizzly’s Latin name is Ursus arctos horribilis, or “horrible northern bear” – bears are typically the losers during encounters with humans.

Since 1982, people have killed 87 grizzlies in two grizzly bear recovery zones in the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaak mountains of northeastern Washington, Idaho and Western Montana.

Seventy percent of the human-caused deaths occurred near roads. Poaching and mistaking a grizzly for a black bear were two frequent reasons grizzlies were shot and killed on Forest Service lands. Self-defense by hunters was also a factor, particularly during elk season.

“Grizzly bears kill relatively few people, yet every year, we hear about grizzly deaths in the Northern Rockies,” said Mike Petersen, executive director of the Spokane-based Lands Council. “These bear mortalities are taking place near roads.” …

My thoughts: I would like to see some numbers to go with these broad statements. How many bears were poached? Hit by vehicles? Killed in self defense? Mistaken by hunters? How are roads evil? If 87 bears were killed in the last 26 years that would be about 3.3 bears per year.

How many people have been killed by grizzly bears in the last 26 years? What’s the score? Who’s ahead?

The article continues:

Over the past decade, environmental groups brought a series of lawsuits against the Forest Service, arguing that the agency needed to do more to keep people and bears apart by restricting motorized access to prime habitat areas. The litigation triggered forest plan revisions in the Idaho Panhandle, Kootenai and Lolo national forests.

The plan is out in draft form. Public comments will be accepted through June 22.

Closing roads to protect habitat is controversial, particularly when it halts people’s ability to drive or ride an ATV to well-established huckleberry picking sites or hunting areas, said Karl Dekome, the Forest Service’s team leader. An earlier draft attracted more than 300 public comments.

“People have their favorite places out there that they like to use,” he said. “When you’re talking about closing that off, it can become emotional.” …

My thoughts: I can see how the comments will go. A few locals will get fired up and write letters attempting to protect their rights with perfectly logical and sound reasons. The common sense letters will be drowned out by the mass of identical “letters” from well funded organizations that promote a dehumanized wilderness concept backed by people that have no concept of what is beyond their steel and concrete world.

More from the article:

The Forest Service reviewed two alternatives. Grizzlies would benefit most from barricading up to 1,800 miles of Forest Service roads; erecting gates on up to another 490 miles of roads; and eliminating motorized use on 57 miles of trails, according to the agency.

Forest Service officials, however, prefer a less restrictive plan that gates or barricades about 325 miles of road, while reopening other roads for motorized travel. About 30 miles of trail would close to motorized use. “It tries to strike a balance, providing sufficient habitat recovery for grizzly bears, but recognizing there are other issues and needs,” Dekome said. …

My thoughts: This is how the FS now operates. They come up with an outrageous plan, then an alternative that isn’t quite as restrictive so they can look good by “compromising”. What they are really doing is depriving people of their rights and forcing illegally conceived de facto wilderness upon the people.

More from the article:

Recreational activities would be hard-hit under the more restrictive plan, he said. Driving access to more than 22 developed recreation sites would be eliminated. The day-use area at Roman Nose, a 7,221-foot peak in Boundary County, is on the list. So are six campgrounds, three boat ramps and three picnic areas in the Kootenai National Forest.

Some hiking trails would effectively double in length. Snowmobile trails would be affected, because trail maintenance would be restricted during the summer months, Dekome said.

The ability to drive to the Lunch Peak lookout rental near Sandpoint is curtailed under both alternatives. But recreational impacts are much less severe in the Forest Service’s preferred plan, Dekome said.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, one of the groups that sued the Forest Service, questions whether the agency’s preferred alternative is scientifically sound. Opening roads for timber sales would be allowed, said Liz Sedler, who works for the alliance in Sandpoint. She also said the grizzlies need bigger, undisturbed areas than the preferred alternative creates. …

My thoughts: The mentality of locking it up and letting it burn is more detrimental to habitat than trying manage for a healthy forest. Locking out We the People is against our rights, and heavily discriminates against the poor and elderly. Its very selfish of these organizations to “save the wilderness” so they can be occasionally visited by the wealthy and fit.



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