What is the Greater Yellowstone Coalition Ethics Award? – Daily Montanan

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Have you ever wondered how much your ethics are worth? Apparently, for the Great Yellowstone Coalition, the price is considerably higher than the “30 pieces of silver” Judas got for his sale, but that was 2,000 years ago.


A hidden newly released documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Forest Service spent at least $17,500 to contract with the GYC to conduct a collaboration that
supports the Greenhorn project in the Gravelly Mountains of southwestern Montana. Amazingly, this 16,000-acre logging, burning, and road building project includes mapped no-road areas within the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.


It should be noted that the Greater Yellowstone Coalition promotes itself to foundations and donors as the primary advocate for the conservation of the lands, waters, and wildlife surrounding Yellowstone National Park. Yet conservation groups that supported more wilderness and less logging, road building, and cattle grazing were specifically excluded from participating in the GYC “stakeholder” collaboration.


The Gravelly Landscape Collaborative website states, “We welcome new participants who share a commitment to the Gravelly Landscape and are willing to agree to basic ground rules for respectful and honest collaboration.

But as an email from the collaborative stated bluntly: “The Gallatin Wildlife Association and Cottonwood Law have failed to demonstrate their commitment to collaboration and the compromise necessary for consensus, as evidenced by the lawsuits and the opposition to management actions that include grazing. For this reason, GWA is not eligible to be invited as a member of the planning committee.


So who was allowed to attend planning meetings other than the Forest Service? The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, of course, Madison County, billionaire “ranchers” and The Nature Conservancy were among the chosen few.


The collaborators say their “overarching goal is to develop ecologically appropriate and scientifically backed restoration projects that will benefit the forests, fish and wildlife populations, and local communities of the Gravelly Landscape”. But the Cottonwood Environmental Law Center and the Gallatin Wildlife Association were excluded because they support safe habitat for grizzly bears and wolves – and do not support cattle grazing because it has been widely documented and “scientifically supported” that grizzlies and wolves that prey on the private-for-profit livestock grazing on public land eventually die.


Instead, the GYC Ranchers Collaboration and the Forest Service want to cut back and burn more than 16,000 acres in the Sheep Mountain Scheduled No-Road Area. Ironically, this area would be designated as a wilderness area by the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, a bill that currently has 59 sponsors in the House of Representatives and 12 sponsors in the US Senate.

The GYC collaboration also believe that native trees and shrubs are degrading this landscape and should be burned and cut down, including burning sagebrush in occupied sage-grouse habitat. In reality, the goal is to grow more grass for livestock in this mountainous landscape which currently provides elk and mule deer with calving and calving areas and crucial wintering range as well as a secure habitat for at least a dozen bird species identified as Montana Species of Special Concern. .

Scientific research documents that grizzlies flee in terror from low-level helicopter flights and may abandon their habitat, but GYC collaborators endorse low-level helicopter flights to drop fire starters in areas occupied by groups of sows /small grizzlies – a gross violation of endangered species. Law.


The collaboration has also given the timber industry its share of the national forestry pie, including clear-cutting stands of Douglas fir and bulldozing miles of new logging roads – even as the latest scientific findings show that Logged forests burn hotter and faster than unlogged forests.


The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to provide the public with an opportunity to review and comment on the potential impacts of their proposed actions. But nothing in the law says that only citizens who are paid by the government to support habitat destruction for native species are allowed to do the planning.


They say “everyone has his price” and apparently that’s true for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

But the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem belongs to all Americans — not just organizations that have been paid by the government to support the deforestation of prime grizzly bear and elk habitat.


Mike Garrity is the Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

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