Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Here's Some Good Advocates Doing Something...

"All it takes for evil to succeed
is that good men should look on and do nothing.

Public Access Storm Brewing Over the Crazy Mountains
The Crazy Mountains in Montana have been a public access hotbed, beginning in 1940. As then Forest Service Supervisor G. E. Martin writes (from my FOIA documents) detailing the variety of uses documented in the historic Crazy Mountains, including mining, timber, grazing, trappers, hunters and recreation, "At no time was travel over the roads and trails restricted until October 1940 when Van Cleve locked the gate during the hunting season. In 1941 this was done again. In 1942 the gate was again locked before the opening of the hunting season and was still locked on April 24, 1943."

I have an ask:

If you have been in the Crazy Mountains...

  • perhaps you received a citation when you were on a FS Trail on their map;
  • perhaps you have been on one of these contested trail and you thankfully did not ask landowner permission or sign in and would like to add your account to the prescriptive easement history;
  • perhaps you would just like to share your story and/or some pictures of what these particular public lands and access mean to you?
If so, please contact Kathryn : or 406-579-7748

Michael Wright wrote an article in the Bozeman Chronicle this weekend -
Advocates outraged over reassignment of Forest Service ranger 

"Landowner concerns over Sienkiewicz’s work to preserve public access to the Crazy Mountains near Big Timber were brought up to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue as recently as late May. Perdue was in Montana for the Montana Ag Summit, and he met with several agriculture groups along with Montana’s Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association was part of the meeting. Jay Bodner, the natural resources director for the Stockgrowers Association, said each group in the meeting had a variety of concerns, and that public access conflicts in the Crazies was one issue for his group.

'We did have a number of our members kind of concerned with the access issue there in the Crazies,' Bodner said."

I have been busy digging through my FOIA documents, gleaning proof to refute the false allegations against former District Ranger Alex Sienkiewicz. I composed and provided this refutation letter, with supporting Refutation Documents to Public Land/Water Access Association. They are sending out their official letter and Refutation Documents to the officials below.
Please consider gleaning information from both, to send in your own comments, including to the other officials, agencies connected and the organizations involved, such as the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, the Stock Growers Association, the Montana Outfitters & Guides Association.

PLWA's Letter Defending Alex Sienkiewicz as Yellowstone District Ranger

Refutation Documents Defending Alex Sienkiewicz as Yellowstone District Ranger

Please note the following additional points:

  • After Lee Gustafson posted the yearly seasonal reminder to FS employees and seasonal help to PLWA's Facebook page, outfitter and Crazy Mountain landowner, Chuck Rein, who is also the Vice-President of the Montana Outfitters & Guides Association, along with MOGA Executive  Mac Minard met with then Yellowstone District Ranger Alex Sienkiewicz and Custer Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson on August 17, 2016. Refutation Documentation PDF pgs. 21 & 22 show, "Chuck Rein presented Alex Sienkiewicz and Mary Erickson with a copy of an EMAIL Alex had sent outto staff with cc to Forest Leadership Team." This is the communication that falsely alleged that District Ranger Alex Sienkiewicz posted directly to PLWA's Facebook post, which he did not - PLWA member with administrative rights, Lee Gustafson - per the screenshot (pdf page 10) "Both Mac Minnard and Chuck Rein asked Mary Erickson if she agreed with my (Alex's) position regarding never signing-in and never asking permission of private landowners at traditional forest access points, and Mary stated that she did support this position."
  • On January14, 2017 MOGA sponsored a Montana Access forum in Helena, MT. Region 1 Regional Supervisor Leanne Marten was invited as one of the speakers. This meeting is referenced in the Montana Farm Bureau Federations letter to Sen. Steve Daines on January 30, 2017 (PDF pg. 4). In the closing paragraph, John Youngberg writes, "This issue was brought to the attention of Region 1 Forester Leanne Marten at a recent Montana Outfitters and Guides meeting where she wasn't willing to commit an answer to the question above."
  • At that meeting MOGA Vice-President asked Regional Supervisor Leanne Marten, during the question period, "One of the comments I've heard about is partnership and cooperation. How have prescriptive easements and adverse possession lined up with those goals?" Marten began replying, "Something tells me there's a lot more behind that question." Yes, there certainly is, like the privatization of our public lands and resources on them, especially the wildlife that he outfits, restricting the public's access to both the public lands and wildife. I have documents related to this outfitting coming up on another installment.

Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250 (202) 720-2791

Forest Service Chief, Thomas Tidwell,   (202) 205-8439

Region 1, Regional Forester Leann Marten,   (406) 329-3315

Custer Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson,  (406) 587-6949

Senator Steve Daines,   (202) 224-2651

Even though Sen. Tester was not evident in the letters, please contact him as well.
Sen. Jon Tester,   (202) 224-2644 

Representative Greg Gianforte, 1419 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515


Click to be a Contributor or Subscriber to
Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu
Bozeman, MT

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CWD....Fire may be remedy....NY Times

A deer with chronic wasting disease. CreditTerry Kreeger 
Mark D. Zabel wants to set some fires.
Dr. Zabel and his colleagues are developing plans to burn plots of National Park Service land in Arkansas and Colorado. If the experiments turn out as the researchers hope, they will spare some elk and deer a gruesome death.
Across a growing swath of North America, these animals are dying from a mysterious disorder called chronic wasting disease. It’s caused not by a virus or bacterium, but a deformed protein called a prion.
When ingested, prions force normal proteins in the animal’s body to become deformed as well. Over the course of months, prions can gradually wreck the animal’s nervous system, ultimately killing it.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the discovery of chronic wasting disease. In the September issue of Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, Dr. Zabel, an immunologist at Colorado State University, and his former graduate student Aimee Ortega survey what scientists have learned about the slow-spreading plague.
Continue reading the main story
It makes for ominous reading. “There’s a lot that we still don’t know and don’t understand about the disease,” Dr. Zabel said in an interview.
Once chronic wasting disease gets a foothold, it can spread relentlessly. It’s now documented in 24 states, and continues to expand into new ranges. In some herds, as many as half of the animals carry prions.
It’s only been in recent years that scientists have gained crucial clues to how the disease spreads. Direct contact, it turns out, isn’t the only way that the prions get from one animal to another.
Sick animals and cadavers spread prions across the landscape. Plants and soil may remain coated with deformed proteins for years, perhaps even decades. Dr. Zabel now suspects that the only way to rid the land of them is to set controlled fires.
It was at Colorado State University, in 1967, that wildlife biologists first observed some captive mule deer developing a strange new disease. The animals lost weight and awareness of their surroundings. The symptoms slowly worsened until the mule deer died.
“They’re not hard to pick out at the end stage,” Dr. Zabel said. “They have a vacant stare, they have a stumbling gait, their heads are drooping, their ears are down, you can see thick saliva dripping from their mouths. It’s like a true zombie disease.”
It wasn’t until much later that researchers discovered that chronic wasting disease belongs to a small group of conditions caused by prions. But other prion diseases are known only to affect livestock or people, not wildlife.
Scrapie, for example, is a deadly disease that afflicts sheep. A number of studies indicated that bone meal contaminated with scrapie prions passed the prions to cows. The cows developed a prion disease of their own, called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, nicknamed mad cow disease.
In rare cases, people who ate beef from the sick cows developed prions in their own brains. As of 2016, 231 people had died from the condition worldwide.
Scientists long suspected that deer and related species developed chronic wasting disease by picking up scrapie from sheep flocks kept at Colorado State University. The disease then turned up in other states and Canada as animals were shipped to private game farms. A shipment of elk to South Korea brought the plague there as well.
But Dr. Zabel now believes that the birth of chronic wasting disease may be more complicated. “I’m starting to second-guess the original hypothesis,” he said.
Prions are misfolded versions of a naturally occurring molecule called cellular prion protein. Experiments carried out in Dr. Zabel’s lab, published in January, suggest that cellular prion protein in deer and related species may be unusually prone to misfolding.
“We were able to generate a new prion,” Dr. Zabel said. “Maybe this is a spontaneous disease.”
That result might explain a startling finding last year: researchers came across a prion-riddled reindeer in Norway, the first time chronic wasting disease had been found in Europe. Since then, two more have been found, and Norway in April approved the culling of over 2000 reindeer to stop the spread.
“The jury is still out on the origin. This new outbreak in Norway just complicates the matter,” Dr. Zabel said.
Dr. Zabel and other scientists are trying to figure out how chronic wasting disease has become so successful. One factor is how the prions spread through an animal’s body. They aren’t limited to the brain in deer, elk or moose. The prions also sweep through lymph nodes and the spleen.
As a result, Dr. Zabel and his colleagues have found, infected animals can release huge numbers of prions. “We found it in urine, in saliva and in feces,” he said. “They shed continually until they die.”
Other members of a herd can get sick by making direct contact with a shedding animal. But the way the disease is spreading across North America suggests that the prions is are also using other routes to get to new hosts.
If deer got sick only by direct contact, for example, you would expect the outbreak to be most severe in the Midwest, where populations are densest. But some of the worst outbreaks are in the Rocky Mountains, where there are fewer animals.
Mathematical models suggest that animals are getting sick from prions in the environment. In additional to the prions shed while a sick animal is alive, its cadaver can release another bounty of deformed proteins onto the ground.
Some studies suggest that these prions can end up on grass and other plants, which are then eaten by healthy animals. Some prions in the soil may bind to minerals. It’s possible that animals may sometimes pick them up if they eat bits of dirt.
Compared with viruses or bacteria, prions are impressively rugged. To decontaminate prion-covered lab equipment, scientists have to heat them to 600 degrees Celsius, or 1112 Fahrenheit.
In a forest or on a prairie, a prion may be able to hang around for years, still able to infect a new animal. As herds migrate along the same route year after year, the supply of prions in the environment may keep increasing.
“It’s starting to make sense,” said Dr. Zabel.
Scientists don’t know enough about the ecology of prions to predict how bad chronic wasting disease will become in future decades. Mountain lions and other predators may lower the infection rate by picking off sick animals as they wander away from their herds.
Scientists have also found genes that give some animals resistance to prions. It’s hoped that resistant animals will reproduce enough to main the populations of herds.
Still, Dr. Zabel worries, the supply of prions in the environment someday might push many herds past a tipping point. “That could result in herd decimation and population declines,” he said.
Dr. Zabel is also concerned about the potential threat chronic wasting disease might someday pose to humans.
So far, there have not been any documented cases in which people got sick from eating meat from sick animals. “That doesn’t mean it won’t happen,” Dr. Zabel warned.
His own experiments showing how easily cellular prion proteins can fold into a dangerous shape suggest that prions may have a potential to become more harmful. “We may just be in the early stages,” he said.
In their review, Dr. Zabel and Ms. Ortega write that researchers have found a number of ways to fight prions. Researchers have found they can rid surgical instruments of prions in an ozone bath, for example.
But such treatments are impractical in the wild. “You cannot treat half of the continental United States with ozone,” he said.
Instead, Dr. Zabel and his colleagues hope to test controlled burns. While the fires won’t be hot enough to destroy the prions, they might kill off enough prion-laden plants to lower the odds of healthy animals getting sick.
The researchers will test this hypothesis by seeing if the prevalence of chronic wasting disease drops after they set their fires.
Dr. Zabel said he has encountered some stiff skepticism about his plan. But he still thinks it is the only plausible way to put a brake on the prions.
“If you eliminate the plants that have prions on the surface, that would be a huge step forward,” he said. “I really don’t think it’s that crazy.”