Why is Steve Daines Stifling Public Opposition to His WSA Bill?

Senator Steve Daines has recently introduced controversial legislation to release Wilderness Study Areas across Montana.  Daines must have asked himself, “what is something no one in Montana is clamoring for?  Is it a town hall? No.  It’s a release of Wilderness Study Areas!”

After apparently pulling this legislation out of thin air with no public meetings, no comment period, and apparently little organic grassroots support Daines is now bringing out the big guns.  You might remember even a “letter” of support was last edited by Daines’ staff before being put in a press release.

Unfortunately, Daines only has enough goons for one county commissioners meeting at a time.

Yesterday, the Granite County Commission met.  Just months ago, these commissioners decided not to endorse Daines bill.  But according to a tipster, Daines and company turned up the heat on these commissioners.  Daines called each commissioner twice asking for them to reconsider and promised a room full of “supporters” at their meeting to reconsider their previous non-endorsement.

The Commission reversed course and endorsed Daines’ bill after just months ago not seeing the merit to it.  Great use of the bully pulpit for Daines.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough “supporters” to cover the Ravalli County Commission meeting.  Fringe partisan “supporters” are in a limited supply.

The Ravalli County Commission had sent a letter of support of Senator Daines’ bill without public comment and when they asked the public for comment people were pissed.

According to the Ravalli Republic story over 2/3 of the public comments were opposed to the Commission’s support. Guess the drive to the Bitterroot was too much for Daines promised support.

Either way, Montanans should be sure to take note of who speaks in “support” of Daines’ bill at public meetings.  Double check and make sure it is not the same people from Granite County rocking one of these:


36 Comments on "Why is Steve Daines Stifling Public Opposition to His WSA Bill?"

  1. Well, I gotta tell ya, I’m VERY left. But this is one issue that the public has NOT been properly educated about. You see, myself, and MANY others who can’t hike are LOCKED OUT of these study area. The study areas were deemed NOT APPROPRIATE for wilderness. They should be normal federal lands for ALL. Not just those that can hike in. Releasing these areas does nothing more than make them like all regular public lands, it does NOT release them to be sold, it does not release them to instant logging or mining. IF, if any of these lands should be considered for anything other than recreation or grazing they would have to go through all the same processes the all other federal lands must go through. I’m tired of the lies from the far left. End the study areas NOW. Allow all of us to enjoy them, not just the fit few. Be honest. Those that want to keep these as study areas are lying JUST AS MUCH AS TRUMP, you sicken me.

  2. The original Art Fenske (yep there seem to be two of us posting here) | February 7, 2018 10:17 PM at 10:17 PM |

    I am about left of center and think Steve Daines is only useful as as a device to drive nails with his forehead.

    Except in this case, he is behind the right ideas.

    Those WSAs were put into study up to 40 years ago and were studied. There have not been found to have sufficient Wilderness quality.

    I have been told because they are being studied under the travel plan, I can no longer ride my mountain bike there by a bunch of Big W zealots.

    Well….. a great big Fuck You. you could have had allies, instead you alienated a large user group.

    If you want help protecting areas of public land it is way past time that you compromise.

    • Life happens, snowflake. I can’t make love five time a night any more either. But god DAM I don’t need an act of congress for help! Pathetic. Get real.

      • The original Art Fenske (yep there seem to be two of us posting here) | February 8, 2018 7:30 AM at 7:30 AM |

        That makes no sense you dolt.

        • Get off your ass and walk in! If you can’t walk, maybe it’s time to look for some other activities in life. Don’t spoil it for others.

          • The original Art Fenske (yep there seem to be two of us posting here) | February 8, 2018 8:25 AM at 8:25 AM |

            Ambrose, you have your head firmly up your ass. These areas are NOT Wilderness. They are being managed as Wilderness.

            I was able to mountain bike on trails in these WSAs until the last travel plan when assholes like you decided to lock me out from my chosen form of quiet recreation. Nothing was being spoiled by my use. Who appointed you to tell me how I should enjoy public lands?

            You want to protect areas from development and exploitation? Then you are going to need additional allies as most of you old people are now dying off. Good riddance and a great big FUCK YOU!

            • I still ride bicycle and motorcycles, but I DON’T need to do it in a WSA. There are plenty of other places to ride. I have seen the little belts terribly degraded by roads over the last fifty years. People go off trail and ruin it. Next thing you know, the trails are washed out. Same with bicycles. There are bike trails everywhere. I’ve never understood the thrill of riding a bike in a WSA. Horses yes but bikes no.

  3. Please read this (taken from the GAO website)and answer a question.
    Where does it say people can’t hike in Wilderness Study Areas?

    “Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the wilderness study areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service, focusing on: (1) legislative guidance and agency policies governing wilderness study area management; (2) the various activities and uses of the study areas; (3) the ways these activities and uses affect the areas; and (4) agency actions to monitor and restrict these uses and repair damage.

    GAO found that; (1) wilderness study areas are areas that are identified, either by Congress or agency officials, as having certain characteristics that qualify them as wilderness; (2) BLM and the Forest Service have implemented policies designated to protect wilderness study areas; (3) motor vehicles and mechanized equipment are generally prohibited in wilderness areas; (4) Congress has allowed for certain types of recreation in wilderness study areas such as riding all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and mountain bikes; (5) surface disturbance or damage by motorized vehicle use is a concern of the managing agencies, as well as environmental groups; and (6) agency managers have several mechanisms for managing wilderness study areas and mitigating resource damage such as monitoring uses in study areas, restricting uses if necessary, and repairing any ensuing damage.”


  4. I have another question. Is Daines’ priority here a grassroots initiative? In other words, is there a significant number of Montana residents who collectively wanted Wilderness Study Areas undone? Did Montana residents knock on Steve Daines’ door and ask for this?

    If not… Who is Daines representing here? Where is Daines taking his marching orders from?

    There could be a clue. Answer the question: Is this same thing with Wilderness Study Areas happening in other States? Are they also NOT grass roots initiatives?

    If these Wilderness Study Area priorities are not grassroots… it means collectively they are “Top-Down” initiatives. The people prescribing the priorities are probably Right Wing leaders in Congress and members of Conservative Think Tanks and Republican Caucus members (Republican Study Committee etc).

    Who does Steve Daines work for?

  5. “Who does Steve Daines work for?” Great question and so far, I do not see that he works for anyone in Montana other than his own overly inflated ego.

  6. the MAIN POINT here is still being ignored by many, now GET THIS, this is fact, not the fiction you keep getting fed, those WSAs were deemed not able to meet the criteria of wilderness, and under the original law that created the WSAs should have been released back into regular multi-use management 40 years ago. I despise Dains and most everything about him, except this one thing. This release is 40 years over due.

  7. Oh yea, Ambrose Rey, you are a chunk of work. Elitist, selfish, and judgmental. I’m not a lardazzzzz or whatever you suggested. I have real disabilities. Did not ask for or want them just happened. Mostly from working to hard, some congenital. There are places in my Great State of Montana that I will never be able to see now, but I had planned to someday. You have all the wilderness areas to ride your horse in, so leave the non wilderness lands for the rest of us. It seems though, you want it all. Selfish. Thoughtless, narrow minded. I could go on for a VERY long time, but you get my drift.

  8. I’m not interested in Everest, but that escalator to the top of the Great Wall in the Bob would be nice. Now, sarcasm aside; I accept my lot in life quite well, as a matter of fact my best friend says she does not know how I do it, and keep smiling, positive and loving. I’ve always been empathetic. Feeling for others. I’m still that way. But it’s hard to empathise ignorance. As the Original Art keeps saying, WSAs ARE NOT wilderness. Quite frankly I feel we have enough wilderness areas now. WSAs ARE NOT wilderness they should be put them back to multiple us as the LAW INTENDED. Back to empathy. Ambrose Rey appears to be one of those who has none, and will probably not learn any till something bad happens to him. Maybe not even then. I love Montana, and love our great outdoors. I was raised on a mountain ranch, my great-great Grandmother was Chief Tendoys sister, and they cousins of Sacajawea. My love for Montana has a family tree with very deep roots. If I believe those WSAs should be released, that belief comes from a heart with strong connections to Our Great State.

    • Ok. Just as soon as you go on a vision quest in a Walmart parking! Sheesh. Very strange attitude for a self proclaimed Native American. I take it you were NOT at Standing Rock! Only way to honor the sacred according to you is to destroy it. Strange, very strange. You need to talk to the elders. Get your head right. Honor Mother Earth. Or stop pretending to be native!

  9. Oh yes Ambrose, I forgot….believe me I know what it was like 50 years ago, I was 15 at the time, a horse and skis were NOT the only way to access the back country. I lived it! I had the Snowcrest Mountains on one side, and the Gravely Range on the other side of our house. I hate to say it so clearly, but Ambrose, you all full of shit.

    • How DID you get your into the back country in the winter then? Pickup truck? Nope. You’re wrong. In those days, it was either afoot or horse, or maybe dog sled. So, again, explain to me how guys like you garnered those cocomittant rights to enter WSAs with each new motorized vehicle? Hell, there weren’t even real dirt bikes back then. A knobby tire on a triumph ain’t a dirt bike.

      • The original Art Fenske (yep there seem to be two of us posting here) | February 10, 2018 1:37 PM at 1:37 PM |

        50 years???? You really are fucking stupid. Like 1967? You think that is when Lewis and Clark were exploring Montana and looking for a Northwest Passage?


        However that isn’t the point of the discussion and I believe even a nit-with like you knows that.

        The point is, these WSAs were open to mountain biking until about 5-7 years ago when a new travel plan was implemented and gradually mountain biking has been banned in the areas along with other activities. All because a bunch of elitist fuckheads like you cannot play well with others.

        If you want to protect wild areas you need diverse user groups to support that agenda, that includes Mountain Bikers, ATV and Dirt Bikers and even off road enthusiasts.

        • No, the point is again that they belong to ALL of us, and the vast majority of Montanans want them to remain as WSAs. Again, you have NO more right to them than the rest of us. Lardbuttism gives you NO exceptional right or preference. When I can no longer get off my azz to visit them, I’ll take great solace in knowing others can without seeing YOUR angry countenance in their on a motorized conveyance. Daines messed up. And he will pay for it next election. He really is an idiot. Cheers.

          • The original Art Fenske (yep there seem to be two of us posting here) | February 10, 2018 3:37 PM at 3:37 PM |

            Daines an idiot? You are being too kind. More like a moronic idiot. On that we agree.

            As for your claims that those areas belong to ALL of us, I think you meant ALL Americans not ALL Montanans. And please, show me where it says the majority of Montanans want them to remain WSAs, I call bullshit on that one Batman. Put up or fuck off.

  10. Ambrose, really! I told you I lived it. Our jeeps and my Honda Trail 90 were in back country all the time—where allowed I must stress. We also had a Weasel for winter back country access, and others had snowmobiles. My Dad was a rancher on our starve-to-death spread so he guided during hunting season. When I tell you these things they are fact. You seem to just cherry pick whatever fantasy you wish to extoll. I’m sorry, but you are the angry one. We did not start the name calling etc. You did. Seem that rather than deal with the facts and truth, you’re like Trump and need to attack with fiction. What a sorry angry individual you appear to be.

  11. So I looked through all the comments and I see no mention of the fact that the Sapphire WSA is now the source of water for half of the Bitterroot Valley. It may not seem like an important point to make, but we do not allow people to construct outhouses over a well in Montana either. Lee Metcaf seemed to recognise this fact and wisely started the process of turning the Sapphire Range into a sacred place that will not be deveolped. Daines blamed environmental lawyers for all the problems of the world yesterday in Hamilton. I believe we will see more people paying for more holes in their yard as some person in the Three Mile area did this winter in a long search for water. I asked a County Commissioner about their ability to grant more subdivisions when the ability to provide water was already becoming a problem. What happens after the water source becomes a new Stock Farm? The answer I got was similar to Dains claim of Lawyers being the problem, I did have hopes that this person was going to help restore sanity to the Ravalli County Commisioners, I guess I was a little optomistic…..

  12. Finally, someone hit the biggest issue: watershed value. Thank you. The father of Senator Daines did well for himself developing a Bozeman watershed for personal gain back in the day (probably when Steve was a young, impressionable pup). We can’t judge Steve as a person for not understanding this dynamic, but it does disqualify him as a real public representative.

    • Hey Ron, if people are serious about protecting these areas from development and degradation then what is needed is more allies who will fight against Daines and Representatives like him, people who will vote..

      That means some compromise. Excluding user groups by bastardizing the Wilderness Study designation just pisses people off.

      Right now there is a movement afoot to exclude mountain bikes from the Lionhead area down near West Yellowstone. A place I have ridden for the past 12 years. All because of somebodies idea of what constitutes Wilderness.

      Lionhead is Recommended Wilderness, not Designated Wilderness and yet some groups are demanding it be treated as if it has achieved that status.

      All that does in the end is lessen the number of people willing to vote or support protections.

  13. I Mtn Bikers want respect they need to understand that every hiker blown off a trail will vote to throw any mechanical means of travel into the nearest tree. This seems to have been the sentiment of many people who walk in the wilderness, and riders will have to insure that their fellow participants demonstrate respect for their fellow humans. I have faced a similar problem among motorcycle trash, and we at least worked to insure our image was not tarnished by some selfish riders who shed a bad light on their similarly clad Gentlemen Motorcyclists.

  14. Gee Dan, paint with a pretty broad brush do you?

  15. Troy, your point about broader support is solid. The mtn bike issue adds a new wrinkle for me as an older user dabbling around the edges of the places I used to get lost in. I think the bike issue is more about courtesy than anything else. I will stick to the watershed focus, especially for the area I know well at the top of the East Bitterroot and Rock Creek (Sapphire WSA). For me, protecting areas from development seems a little different from forest wide travel planning to allocate bikes, atv’s, horses, and boots. Developers would relish a boot vs bike conflict and I fear this seems to be growing.

  16. Thanks Ron. The only conflict is the one we make ourselves. Compromise isn’t a dirty word except to the extremists on both sides.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

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