MTPR

Montana Wilderness Association

The Southwestern Crown Collaborative visits a burn site from the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake.
Brittany Greeson, Crossing The Divide

Wildfires burned more than a million acres across Montana this year, making it one of the most expensive fire seasons since 1999. While the smoke has cleared, the debate over wildfires and forest management is ongoing. Some Montana lawmakers are blaming what they call "environmental extremists" who've managed to stop some logging. But ecologists say it's more complicated than that. In an effort to learn how to live with wildfires, the Southwestern Crown Collaborative is one group trying to find common ground.

A group founded by a state representative claimed on social media that he was threatened during a committee hearing at the Capitol Monday. But others at the same hearing say they heard no threats.

Citizens for Balanced Use posted on Facebook Monday night that Representative Kerry White, a Bozeman Republican, was threatened by environmentalists during a public comment period on a resolution he proposed.

Public lands supporters packed into the Capitol in Helena, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017.
Michael Siebert - UM Legislative News Service

The annual rally in support of keeping public lands publicly-owned at the state capitol today filled the building's rotunda with chanting supporters.

Organized by the Montana Wilderness Association, the event is intended to show solidarity among many different types of public lands users against efforts to sell or transfer federal public lands, or give management authority over them, to states or private entities.

The candidates for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House today both sought to make news out of their positions on control of federal public lands.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Montana Wilderness Association is hoping a rally on Monday will send a message to the state’s elected officials.

Kayje Booker is the Association’s State Policy Director:

The U.S. House took a vote related to public lands yesterday that has Democrats and conservation groups crying foul.

It’s part of a larger rules package that would change how Congress calculates the value of federal public lands when it comes to transferring them to states.

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