State Sen. Fielder, Rep. White go after the Seeley-Swan


One of the most beautiful, undisturbed remote corridors in Montana is being eyed for transfer from the federal government to, well, who knows?

Running between the Bob Marshall and Mission Mountain Wilderness Areas, the Seeley-Swan Valley is home to all kinds of critters, including elk, moose and grizzly bears.

Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R-Thompson Falls) and Rep. Kerry White (R-Bozeman) are hosts for a community meeting at the Swan Community Center in Condon on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The presentation goes by the questionable title, “The Only Solution Big Enough!”

Since the meeting is sponsored by the American Lands Council, I’ll assume the “solution” is putting federal lands in state or private hands. Fielder is that organization’s CEO.

High Country News has a good piece on ALC here. And I’m sure we can expect some federal land grab bills being introduced by Fielder, White and associates in the 2017 legislative session.

Here’s that flyer, BTW:

Flyer - Condon. MT - ALC Public Lands Meeting 9-20-16-2

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  • “One of the most beautiful, undisturbed corridors in Montana is being eyed for transfer from the federal government…?”

    Really, Pete? Simply because of Fielder and White’s dog-n-pony show?

    And while the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex and the Mission Mountains Wilderness areas are great, I’m not sure anyone who’s taken a birds-eye-view of the Seeley-Swan Valley would call it one of the most “undisturbed corridors” in Montana.

    Rather, it would be much more truthful to say that the Seeley-Swan Valley is one of the more heavily logged, clearcut and roaded valley in all of Montana.

    For proof of that, see:




    Finally, for the record, I’m 100% against any and all efforts to transfer or sell America’s federal public lands to states. Always have been, always will be.

    Unfortunately, while efforts like those of the American Lands Council get a lot of ink and attention, there is a much more subtle (and successful and troubling) form of state takeover/transfer of federal public lands and public wildlife management going on, and it’s coming from both GOP and Dem politicians and being supported by some of the very groups who tell us to “Keep It Public.”

    • “Undisturbed” wasn’t probably the best choice of words, although I’ll stick with “beautiful.” And may I borrow the word “remote” that you use in your posts on the subject? Of course, once you get back into either of the wilderness areas, it’s definitely “undisturbed,” and they’re not that far from Highway 83. The areas around the lakes (I particularly like Lindberg and Holland) are spectacular, but yes, there has been logging on private, state and federal lands.

      Still, I’m missing the point of your comment. I shouldn’t be writing about this meeting in Condon that’s advocating the transfer of even more public lands? People shouldn’t be aware of ALC and its CEO (Fielder)? I shouldn’t be warning about potential land grab bills in the 2017 legislature?

      But any chance to stick your finger in the eye of Democrats, and potential allies, shouldn’t be passed up, right Matt?

      • Hi Pete. Sure, ‘beautiful’ and ‘remote’ work for me. I guess I took exception that a dog-n-pony show meeting means that “One of the most beautiful, undisturbed corridors in Montana is being eyed for transfer from the federal government.”

        I’m glad that you highlighted the meeting, as it’s the first I heard about it. My point is that a lot of stuff coming out right now from both the GOP and Dems is either a subtle effort to have more state control of federal public lands and wildlife, or certainly leads us down that path, as it has been for a decade or more now. There’s a long, long list of examples, which have been supported by both the GOP and Dem parties. Pointing this fact out isn’t sticking fingers in the eye of anyone, or any political party, it’s just the truth of the matter. Anyone working on public lands and wildlife issues can see this happening right before their eyes.

        I’m happy to chat with you about this face-to-face anytime. Let me know if you ever want to grab coffee and do that. Thanks.

        • It’s the broad generalization in your comments on the “Dem Party” that raises my hackles. There are many of us within the party advancing an environmental agenda, among other progressive policies. We tend to work behind the scenes as, I’m sure you’re aware, it’s a contentious, polarizing political climate.

          A thought concerning Democrats’ environmental policies — not happy with Bullock or Tester or Juneau’s platform? I, and other progressives, aren’t always either. But imagine if Bullock wasn’t there to veto the really bad stuff coming out of a Republican controlled legislature. Or Tester and (hopefully) Juneau weren’t in Congress to deflect the terrible anti-environmental bills forwarded by Republicans. Or what would happen with a Republican-controlled state land board.

          I realize that many are tired of the “lesser of two evils” and “triangulation” options. Please keep in mind that at this point, it is the considerably less evil that we’re supporting. And this is Montana … and America. Radical change, although much needed, is seldom embraced by the masses, and change will be incremental. You and I hope it isn’t too late but we have to play the hand we’re dealt.

          Yeah, we should talk later. I’m trying to get a nice, long weekend (in the wilderness!) before the cold weather hits.

  • The Land Board might not be the best example of where Democrats champion environmental ethics. I cannot recall a single time since O’keefe was on the LB when Dems voted against a DNRC timber sale. It was Gov. Schweitzer who led the charge to significantly raised the annual cut level on school trust lands.

    Where is the list of proposed legislation Democrats are anxious to pass in the next session to close the gap between Montana’s (pathetic) existing environmental laws and the 1972 constitutional commitment to a “clean and healthful environment?” All I see is (junk-mail) fundraising postcards with no progressive environmental policy mentioned.

  • Last night was a parade of lies, half truths, and twisted science combined with poor math. The crowd was openly opposed to and hostile to the snake oil hawkers. The best response came from Montana State Senator Sue Malek who politely welcomed White and Fielder to her district and proceeded to embarrass Fielder for misrepresenting the actions of the Senate and finished with a flourish by stating that she was going to fight Fielder and White on this issue every step of way. The crowd loved it. Malek clearly came prepared with facts about Fielder’s legislative record. Fielder had no response, and really did not seem particularly bothered to be called out for lying to the public. I learned years ago that public meetings at the Condon Community Hall are always a good show and last night kept that tradition alive.

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Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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