Latest Newsletter

 

Latest Newsletter

Spring 2021 (pdf)

From Bob Walker

Earlier this year, President Trump called on Congress to send him a bill that would fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and restore our national parks. On August 4, 2020, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law, accomplishing those exact objectives.

The Trump Administration worked with Congress to secure the passage of this landmark conservation legislation, which will use revenues from energy development to provide up to $1.9 billion a year for five years to provide needed maintenance for critical facilities and infrastructure in our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, recreation areas, and American Indian schools. It will also use royalties from offshore oil and natural gas to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the tune of $900 million a year to invest in conservation and recreation opportunities across the country.

2020 MTVRA Trail Tractor Maintenance Program Report

By Mona Ehnes

MTVRA received its first $90,000 Recreational Trails Program grant for trail maintenance using a Sutter trail Dozer in 2014. The most recent work done during the summer of 2020 is the seventh year MTVRA performed trail maintenance on USFS OHV trails and BLM OHV trails on public lands across Montana.

2020 was a busy summer for the Trail Tractor Maintenance Program.  There were four new locations with trails that had not received motorized mechanized maintenance in prior years. The trail maintenance contractor working on the 2020 MTVRA trail maintenance grant projects also performed work on a project on the Lincoln Ranger District and another USFS trail construction project in the Little Belt Mountains.  The project in the Little Belt Mountains was funded by an OHV grant awarded to the Missouri River Off-Roaders, a four-wheel drive club from Great Falls. 

From Ric Foster, Policy Director BlueRibbon Coalition

The Custer Gallatin National Forest Plan Revision Team has released the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement initiating a 90-day public comment period running March 1 to June 5, 2019.   

The Forest will be hosting 10 public meetings, 8 webinars and 10 resource-specific podcasts available for download (March 18th). Maps and other materials will be available for review at public meetings, and planning team members will be available to answer questions.

Upcoming Public Meetings, Webinars & Podcasts

Previously I asked you to participate in a survey of Montanans to identify your priorities for the future of outdoor recreation, conservation, natural resources and access.  The survey is a success with more than 11,000 Montanans completing this first important step.  For the formal announcement go top https://montanaheritageproject.com/mission-accomplished/
 
Now comes the challenging job of analyzing the survey responses and planning for the future.  The Project team will release a report of the survey findings in October.  We will keep you posted as the Montana Outdoor Heritage Project moves forward.  In the meantime get out and enjoy our beautiful Montana outdoors and share your experiences with a friend!
 
Bob Walker, Chair
Montana Trails Coalition
 

By Dan Thompson

The Bitterroot National Forest (BNF) concluded their Travel Planning process in 2015.  A case can be made that the dominant theme of the Travel Plan alleged that there are wide spread conflicts among forest visitors that needed to be resolved as part of the Travel Planning process.  One of the lines of evidence brought forward by the BNF to support their “conflicts” claim were comments submitted during the process by Montana FWP that hunters complain about use of OHVs during hunting season.  The exact, complete quotation from FWP’s scoping comments is:

“Each year FWP staff in the Bitterroot gets the chance to talk to several thousand of these hunters at the Darby Check Station.  And each year comments about OHV use ranks first or second among complaints, rating right up there with comments about wolves.”

The lack of specific details in FWP’s comments coupled with my own personal hunting experiences got me to wondering about who exactly is complaining about what exactly.  So, I launched a little research project to try to figure that out.  Specifically, what proportion of elk and deer hunters use an OHV to assist them during the hunt?