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What We Have Accomplished Locally and Nationally

Fir SpiresRoads The 1986 Flathead Forest Plan would have built 75 miles of road per year until its already abundant 4,000 miles of roads was increased to 6,000. Other assessments, however, show roads to have the single worst effect on lands and watersheds, not to mention unaffordable costs. When citizen comments were ignored, our lawsuits brought the road construction program down to essentially zero and replaced it instead with a mandatory road obliteration program . By 2015, the Flathead had obliterated 762 miles of road and signed decisions to obliterate another 126 miles. Only 13 miles of road have been built in the Flathead's roadless areas since 1986 - all good news for fish, wildlife and people.

 

Old Growth When the Flathead National Forest tried to slow down its logging of old-growth forests because it was trashing watersheds, the timber industry filed a lawsuit to keep cutting. Our later lawsuits forced a reexamination of the Flathead Forest Plan's 100 million board feet-per-year timber sale target, which was reduced to 54. The Flathead has logged virtually no old-growth under its 1986 Forest Plan. Due to poor markets, industry purchased only 5 of the 18 million board feet of timber the Flathead offered in 2000. We developed and maintain an interpretive trail on the Flathead National Forest to educate the public about the difference between native old-growth forests and those that replace them after clearcutting.

ORVs In 1999, we secured a court order to physically obliterate and revegetate an illegally cut snowmobile and ORV trail in the wildlife-rich Krause Basin area of the Swan Mountains. We have successfully defended the trail obliteration against a subsequent legal challenge by the Montana Snowmobile Association and American Council of Snowmobile Associations. Federal regulations clearly prohibit the unpermitted cutting of trails on National Forest lands. Five snowmobilers died by avalanche on this unauthorized trail in 1993.

Legal Precedent Our lawsuits against the 1986 Flathead Forest Plan forced the agency to use the most current results of grizzly bear research. This resulted in science-based road management standards that have become the benchmark for standards on other national forests with grizzly bear habitat as well. Because they require culvert removals and road reclamation, these standards also benefit water quality, fish, and other wildlife.

A lawsuit we filed in 1990 ended the permitted hunting of grizzly bear, which are listed as threatened with extinction in the lower 48 states under the Endangered Species Act. The hunt was causing half of the known human-caused mortality to grizzly bears in the Glacier-Bob Marshall Ecosystem.

A lawsuit we filed against the revised Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan derailed federal efforts to remove Endangered Species Act protections from the grizzly bear. Our lawsuit settlement established clear public involvement procedures and habitat-based recovery criteria that must be carried out and considered before delisting can be attempted.

This article published on July 21, 2011 • [Permalink]


Logging Road Landslide
Logging road landslide into Sullivan Creek bull trout habitat! Keith Hammer photo.

What's New
Winter-Spring Newsletter: Swan View Celebrates 40 Years! April 24, 2024

Our Winter-Spring newsletter celebrates our 40th anniversary with news of recent victories, a look at what we've accomplished in 40 years, a reminder of the work that still lies ahead, and an invitation to our celebratory outdoor potluck and gathering on June 9!

Happy Solstice, Holidays and New Year! December 20, 2023

Swan View Coalition wishes you a Happy Solstice, Holidays and New Year, and has a gift suggestion!

Holidays Newsletter: Things to Celebrate in 2023! December 07, 2023

Our Holidays newsletter announces wolverine are finally given ESA protection, an ESA recovery plan is drafted for lynx, there are promising signs for the management of Krause Basin, and POWDR Corp has withdrawn its plans to super-size Holland Lake Lodge, but reminds us of huge "fuels reduction" logging projects on the horizon!

Summer-Fall Newsletter: Pushing Back Against All Odds! October 12, 2023

Our Summer-Fall newsletter announces the release of our latest Forest Service road closure effectiveness report, describes how the Forest Service is keeping the public in the dark while permitting private corporations to conduct business on public lands, provides graphic proof that "thinning" as "restoration" logging amounts to more clearcuts, and calls on the public to carry and learn to use bear spray when outdoors!

Swan View Report Shows Road Closure Effectiveness Far Lower than Forest Service Claims! September 12, 2023

Swan View Coalition recently released a report based on its 2022 inspection of 303 Forest Service road closure devices in the Flathead National Forest’s Swan Valley Geographic Area. The group found only 53% of the gates, berms and boulders showed no signs of motor vehicle use behind them. When adjusted to account for Forest Service exceptions allowing administrative and logging contractor use behind closures, effectiveness rose to only 68%, far short of the 92% effectiveness claimed by the Flathead NF for 2019-2020.

Your Prompt Donation Matched by Cinnabar Foundation! August 02, 2023

Your prompt donation to support our work will be matched/doubled by Cinnabar Foundation!

Help Push Back on the Commercialization of the Flathead National Forest! May 23, 2023

Your email is needed today to push back on 25 commercial Special Use Permits being issued on the Flathead National Forest!

Winter Spring Newsletter: Government and Industry Set to Log it All! April 17, 2023

Our Winter-Spring newsletter asks you to send a quick email to help stop DNRC from logging the last of its hemlock forests in Krause Basin, then shows how DNRC's proposal aligns with federal proposals that also promote logging to "restore" forests to false "historic" conditions. We provide links to a growing body of research revealing a "falsification of the scientific record in government-funded wildfire studies" that are being used to promote the logging of native forests.

Help Stop DNRC Logging in Krause Basin Today! April 12, 2023

MT DNRC intends to log more of what little native hemlock forest it hasn't logged already in Krause Basin! Please help us stop this phony "forest restoration" now!

Double Your Donation Now! March 23, 2023

Wake up! A generous donor has agreed to match $5,000 in donations to Swan View Coalition! So DONATE NOW and see your donation doubled!

Holidays Newsletter: Learning from Our Past and Moving Forward! November 30, 2022

Our Holidays 2022 newsletter looks at how recreation gets out of control on public lands and what we can do about it. It also provides a brief summary of our work in 2022 and why your membership is important!

Giving Thanks! November 23, 2022

This Thanksgiving we are thankful to have public lands worth protecting and your support of our work to do so!

Summer-Fall Newsletter: Plunder Blunders! October 17, 2022

Our Summer-Fall 2022 newsletter examines two major public relations blunders by the Flathead National Forest as it attempts to force recreational development on a public that is tired of seeing its public lands turned into playgrounds for the rich and racy! We also announce the resumption of our biweekly Swan Range Community Potlucks and Music Jam Sessions - and our Annual Membership Meeting to be held November 20.

Insist Now on Full Public Review of Holland Lake Lodge Mega-Expansion! September 06, 2022

The Flathead National Forest is attempting to approve a mega-expansion of the Holland Lake Lodge on public land without informed public input and with no Environmental Assessment or Impact Statement. Tell the Flathead NOW to back up and start again!

Second Round of Flathead Forest Plan Lawsuits Filed! August 11, 2022

Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan are in the process of filing three new lawsuits against the revised Flathead Forest Plan's building of logging roads in threatened grizzly bear and bull trout habitat!

Winter-Spring Newsletter: To Wonder or Plunder? May 13, 2022

Our Winter-Spring 2022 newsletter takes a sobering look at how, contrary to the way forest ecosystems function and the need to keep carbon stored in trees to combat climate warming, the government and industry instead want to log/thin all the forests they can get their hands on while building all the more logging roads to get it done!

Help Stop Commercial Crowding of the Flathead National Forest! May 10, 2022

Your comments are needed to object to commercial permits that promote crowding of the Flathead National Forest!

FS Cannot Seek Consensus from Krause Basin Collaborative February 13, 2022

The Forest Service cannot ask the Krause Basin Collaborative for group/consensus recommendations, only individual advice.

Forest Service Reneging on Promises to Prohibit Motorized Trails in Krause Basin! December 13, 2021

This page documents promises made by the Flathead National Forest to close all trails in Krause Basin to motorized use after designating it a Wildlife Management Area and mandating that the trails "not be marked on the ground."

Holidays Newsletter: Reflecting on 2021 and Looking Forward! November 22, 2021

Our Holidays 2021 newsletter pays tribute to the late Brian Peck, calls for truth to restore hope, previews a guide to how forest ecosystems function, and asks for your help raising $20,000 in December!