Coalition for Common Sense

40_2616BEYOND OUR TOUCH  — Some of Montana’s beautiful scenery up at the Two Medicine Badger area. This was taken a week before it was closed to motorized vehicles last October.  I-O Photo by Barb Endler





By Jim Fortune, East Glacier Park

After reading some of the blogs commenting on the Coalition For Common Sense Use, I’m frustrated by the authors’ apparent misunderstanding.

This grassroots movement is about more than motorized access. Much more.

The Coalition actually spans a much bigger picture. I was inspired to see so many faces at our foundation dinner event, which included nearly 300 people from many diverse backgrounds. Those faces included farmers; ranchers; people from the petroleum, gem and mineral industries; horsemen; bicyclers; motorcycle riders; snowmobilers and business people who are sick and tired of government entities telling us what we can’t do.

We are many like-minded people who think that it’s time to take Montana back. We’ve been overrun with outside interests making policy for us, when it should be left up to the people that a decision directly affects. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need anyone to protect us from ourselves.

Every day, the Coalition receives comments and donations, all from people who feel the way we do.  The Coalition will spend these donations to defend the public’s right to use our public lands with common sense. Isn’t it unfortunate that all of the dollars being spent for attorneys on this lawsuit couldn’t go towards more efficient management in the Badger/Two Medicine? Create a job, or two, or even ten.

Maybe even build a bridge across the Two Medicine to encourage more foot traffic and fix the big mud holes that are almost impassible so folks can stay on the trail.

Lawsuits cost a lot of money and effort. I’m not sure people realize who feeds the Green Machine, the groups who instigate most of these lawsuits. Much of their funding comes from us, the taxpayer.

When a federal agency, such as the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management, “lose” a lawsuit to an environmental group, it’s the taxpayer, ultimately, who picks up the tab. Not only a possible damage award, but attorneys fees as well.

These groups who use lawsuits to develop public land policy for us literally have nothing to lose. Are they going to pay the judgment out of their own pocket, or get fired, or go to jail? I don’t think so.

Not only are you and I paying for the “management” of our public lands, but we’re paying these groups who “win” these lawsuits to keep us off of our public lands.