Get together on common use of forest land

It’s time that a group of people finally got together to implement common sense use on the forest land of Montana. To close multiple use of the forest takes away what makes Montana appealing to me, and, I believe, most others.

You can snowmobile, horse- back, ATV, backpack, cross-country ski and a host of other things.

There are millions of acres of wilderness, plus millions of acres of road-less and non-motorized use which is awesome. Want solitude and no chance of seeing a person on an ATV? It’s there. I want the Rocky Mountain Front kept like it was, for my children, like it was for Mom and Dad. That is the common cry. But what you don’t hear is the last best place on earth had logging roads, access roads, seismograph trails, wagon trails, and yes, roads built to drill for oil. Four wheelers did not put the road into the Badger/Two Medicine. Bulldozers did, to build an airstrip.

So are you going to keep it for my children like it was for Mom and Dad? I don’t think so. The Front and forest have been shut down, mile by mile to multiple users. It seems to me the policy of the Forest Service is “Well, we can’t patrol it properly, so let’s shut it down.”

This is true even of the people who want to go to the mountains just to camp overnight. The places Mom and Dad took you camping are mostly closed or gated now. Big money has bought up a lot of the land, a lot of the time stopping all access to forest, BLM, and state land behind them. Some will allow access to hunting and fishing, which have my heartfelt “thanks”.

Keeping the rest of the forest open for multiple use just makes good common sense.

There is a happy medium between wilderness and total devastation of our forest. I believe it is called common sense use. Backpackers use horse trails. ATV’s use old and new logging and seismograph roads. Cross- country skiers use snow machine trails and logging roads. Ninety percent of users are responsible and courteous and respect the great resource our forest is. Yes, there are bad apples in every box, but saying everyone must pay for them is B.S. You don’t close a street because of a speeder or close a mall because someone shoplifted. You catch them and make them pay. The same goes for the forest.

Maintaining roads and trails by the Forest Service and users is very important. A trail that is logged up or is full of water puddles isn’t used by many, and, if used, becomes a zigzag around trees and puddles by all users, making trails wider and is very destructive.

Closing the forest to multiple users for our wildlife is kind of hard for me to believe. We have grizzlies in every drainage coming out of the mountains. Want to fish the Teton, Two Medicine, Badger Creek and most others? Best take a can of bear spray and a pistol. Yet, we hear the bear and wolf would need more “wilderness” to exist. Glacier and Yellowstone parks had more visitors last year than ever before and there seemed to be no shortage of wildlife (except for what the wolves ate).

Wow! So you can have a motorized vehicle, roads, trails, tons of wildlife and people all in the same place! Who ‘woulda’ thought it?

Millions of acres are preserved for our children, which we should do. Let’s use a little commonsense and not lock up the rest.

With the lack of roads and trails and multiple use the only thing to stop another fire like 1910 is a miracle. Yes, snowmobiles, ATV’s, have more power that they did years ago, but so do cars and trucks. All can be used responsibly.

So all users of the forest from hikers to loggers, cross-country skiers to snowmobilers, horse users to ATV users…..let’s all use a little common sense while in the woods and let everyone use the forest. Stopping multiple use in the forest stops most use.

Dale Rauscher, Conrad