FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Montana Wilderness Association Dishonors Its Past

The Montana Wilderness Association enjoyed a proud history, with leaders and members of conviction and long ties to the land. We all looked up to Loren Kreck, Cecil Garland, Doris Milner and Clif Merritt. We listened to our elders, and learned from them.

From its inception through the 1980s MWA was a grassroots wilderness organization and worthy of our support. This changed in the late 1980s when, under political pressure, they removed Bill Cunningham, a consummate organizer who shepherded several Wilderness bills through Congress.

A troubling shift continued since the 1980’s when the U.S. became what Noam Chomsky called “a one-party system, the Capital Party,” the left and the right both “compromising” fundamental social and environmental justice, often under the guise of seductive terms like “collaboration,” which conceal the true state of affairs.

Sadly, MWA became part of “the Capital Party,” abandoning a loud, proud, and uncompromising voice for wilderness. The more politically expedient MWA has taken a greater influx of big money from sources such as the Pew Foundation that pushed for collaboration with the timber industry. In 1990 MWA unveiled the Lolo Accord, legislation concocted with the timber industry. It was a classic example of “ice and rocks” wilderness in exchange for roadbuilding and logging of 500,000 acres of roadless areas on the Lolo National Forest. After bitter debate, it was shot down by a stronghold of wilderness advocates who still fought exploitive power.

Undeterred, MWA entered collaborative deals with the timber industry affecting millions of acres of Montana roadless areas. The Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership got Sen. Jon Tester to include mandated logging targets. This controversial bill couldn’t pass Congressional muster.

But with seduction of Big Money, MWA became part of collaborationist deal-making on the Kootenai, Flathead, Lolo and Gallatin National Forests. They’ve become a highly paid tool of the timber industry, motorized/mechanized groups and elected officials. The collaborative MWA is working to weaken protections for wilderness and wildlife on our national forests. In fact, if not for the National Forest Roadless Rule, MWA may well have dealt away the better part of Montana’s roadless heritage.

In an effort to correct this trend, several former MWA Council and Executive Committee Members agreed to participate in the Council of Elders, to provide advice and leadership. For several years this Council was marginalized and had minimal effect on policy and was recently ended by MWA. They apparently realized they have no need for counsel from their elders, as they get their money and ideology elsewhere.

While we intend no offense to him personally, the fact MWA’s new executive director had never been to Montana until after being hired speaks volumes to how much MWA has changed. Personal knowledge of the land and people are undervalued. Fundraising is king.

What has befallen MWA in its ideological transformation and perhaps most troubling is that MWA has effectively become a politico-economic operation, reproducing recreationist and “shared-use” land values, advancing the agendas of elected officials and their timber and motorized-mechanized partners.

These developments lead us to conclude the Montana Wilderness Association, years down its compromise road, must be held accountable by its membership who must challenge an entrenched power structure within. Former MWA President Joseph Scalia, in 2015 Great Falls Tribune Guest Opinion, decried MWA’s ideological betrayal of guardianship of wild lands; since then, MWA has continued to refrain from the uncomfortable work of fighting one’s neighbor’s exploitations.

There are still fine conservation organizations that reject the misleading rhetoric put forth by the collaborationists. Montana Wilderness Association has not been one of them for some number of years now.

Joseph Scalia III, Livingston, and Paul Richards, Boulder, are past Presidents of the Montana Wilderness Association. Patty Ames, Cass Chinske and Lance Olsen, Missoula, Mike Jarnevic, Piltzville, Keith Hammer, Kalispell, George Wuerthner, Livingston, Larry Campbell, Darby, Steve Kelly, Bozeman, and Paul Edwards, Helena, are former members of the Montana Wilderness Association state council and Executive Committee.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 18, 2019
Gerald Sussman
Russiagate is Dead! Long Live Russiagate!
Lance Olsen
Perverse Housing Policy Perverts Forest Policy
Richard Ward
All Will be Punished
Jonathan Cook
Annexation of West Bank May Provide Key to Unlocking Netanyahu’s Legal Troubles
Judith Deutsch
People Music: Malignant Phallic Narcissism v. Being Ordinary
Jan Oberg
The Iran Floods and US Sanctions: 10 Million at Risk, But Who Cares?
Manuel E. Yepe
Assange: Between Gratitude and Betrayal
Ralph Nader
Children’s Moral Power Can Challenge Corporate Power on Climate Crisis
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Your Check is in the Mail
Binoy Kampmark
The European Union and Refugees in the Mediterranean
Arnold R. Isaacs
Looking Back at 1919: Immigration, Race, and Women’s Rights, Then and Now
Andrew Moss
Immigration and the Shock Doctrine
Michael Howard
Assange and the Cowardice of Power
Jesse Jackson
Making Wall Street Pay for the Financial Crisis
Mel Gurtov
At Risk—the Idea of America
April 17, 2019
James Bovard
Washington’s Biggest Fairy Tale: “Truth Will Out”
Yoav Litvin
The Ilhan Omar Gambit: Anti-Semitism as a Reactionary Political Tool
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Hawai’i in Trouble
Vijay Prashad
To Ola Bini, a Political Prisoner Caught Up in the Assange Debacle
Hans Muilerman and Jonathan Latham
EU Threatens to Legalize Human Harm From Pesticides
Binoy Kampmark
Delegitimising Journalism: The Effort to Relabel Julian Assange
Jack Rasmus
Trump Whacks the Middle Class
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Burning Cathedral and the Dead Turtle
Kenneth Surin
Insurgencies in Malaysia and Vietnam: Boyhood Reflections
Rev. William Alberts
Opening Tombs and Resurrecting Lives
Tom Engelhardt
How the U.S. Military Feeds at the Terror Trough
Norman Solomon
The Toxic Lure of “Guns and Butter”
George Wuerthner
How to Stop Grazing on Public Lands: Buy Out the Permits
George Ochenski
Vote-Trading for Big Coal
John Stanton
The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self
April 16, 2019
Richard Rubenstein
Julian and Martin: Reflections on the Arrest of Assange
Geoff Dutton
Talking Trash: Unfortunate Truths About Recycling
Kenn Orphan
A Land Uncharted: the Persecution of Julian Assange
Patrick Cockburn
Netanyahu’s Victory in Israel Tells Us About the Balance of Power in the Middle East
Robert Fisk
No More Excuses: Israeli Voters Have Chosen a Country that Will Mirror the Brutal Regimes of its Arab Neighbours
Jonah Raskin
The French (Bread) Connection in a Bourgeois California Town
Denis Rogatyuk
The Ordeal of Julian Assange
David Swanson
Exporting Dictators
Ted Rall
Self-Censorship is Credibility Suicide
Robert Koehler
War Crimes and National Security
Lee Ballinger
None Dare Call It Fascism
April 15, 2019
Bruce Neuburger
The Border, Trumpian Madness and the Clash of Demographics
Patrick Cockburn
Calling Assange a Narcissist Misses the Point
Conn Hallinan
Diego Garcia: The “Unsinkable Carrier” Springs a Leak
Dan Corjescu
State of Apocalyptic Nature: A Contract with Gaia
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail