[MCN] #KeepItPublic: Help stop a federal public lands take over in the Swan Valley!

Matthew Koehler mattykoehler at gmail.com
Tue Nov 29 14:20:32 EST 2016


The Lake County Conservation District (LCCD) in Montana has been working on
a novel approach to take over management of Flathead National Forest land
in the Swan Valley. The Swan Resource Management Study vaguely outlines a
plan to take control of 60,000 acres in the Swan Valley in Lake County
which then would be managed by the Montana Dept. of Natural Resources and
Conservation (DNRC) for logging over the next 100 years.

The LCCD seems to believe that these federal lands represent a cash cow for
the county to use for various unnamed projects even though most federal
timber sales lose money and DNRC doesn’t have an adequate accounting system
to track its costs to see whether they make money from timber sales.

There are obviously flaws with the whole premise of controlling just the
timber output on federal lands but the LCCD has been moving along with this
since 2014 and is soliciting public comments about whether to proceed with
asking Congress to authorize the transfer of management. These are federal
public lands and they belong to everyone in the U.S. not just Lake County
or Montana residents.

The Swan Valley is rich in wildlife and biological diversity. These wild
lands are critical habitat for lynx, bull trout, grizzly bears and other
fish and wildlife. Allowing the County to have management jurisdiction for
purely logging and its associated roads will adversely affect the habitat
for many imperiled animals and fish as well as water quality.

According to their website "LCCD residents, especially those with property
in the Swan Valley, will be asked their opinion. LCCD wants to know if
there is adequate local community support to request Montana’s governor and
legislature to begin working on State legislation that would support the
establishment of the proposed Conservation Forest. Conversely, LCCD wants
to know if the study should be suspended and the idea of a Conservation
Forest tabled."

In an undated letter on the website it says that environmental groups, Lake
County residents, legislators and others have been notified of the *public
meeting on December 7th at the Swan Lake Clubhouse at6:30 pm*. However,
even though Friends of the Wild Swan attended the previous meeting in 2014
and submitted comments we have not been notified nor have Lake County

*Please attend this meeting if you are able or send a letter to the LCCD
and Lake County Commissioners -- tell them:*
*• This is a bad idea and no more taxpayer funds should be spent on it,*

*• These wild lands are too valuable for their clean water, fish and
wildlife and must be maintained for those values,*

*• These are federal lands that belong to everyone in the United States,
not just Lake County residents. Any activities on Forest Service land must
be in compliance with federal laws like the Endangered Species Act,
National Forest Management Act, Clean Water Act and National Environmental
Policy Act.*

*We need to let them know loud and clear that their proposal is not a
viable option for our precious public lands.*

For more information go to: www.swanforestinitiative.org

Send comments to the LCCD at lakecountycd at ronan.net or by mail to 64352 US
Hwy 93, Ronan, MT  59864
and to the Lake County Commissioners at lakecommissioners at lakemt.gov or by
mail to County Courthouse, Room 211, 106 4th Ave E., Polson, MT. 59860
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