Outfitter Permit Expansion in the Elkhorns (HD 380)

Nameless Range

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FWP is going to be splitting region three into two bear districts. That, combined with The likely fact that they will be hunted with hounds is also a consideration.

Throw in the fact that guys are going to be rodding Radersburg Road, snowmobiling the countryside with spotlights and night vision in pursuit of non-native of woofs.

I think it would be fair to view this as just another drop in the bucket. I guess I am wondering at what point the public will say enough drops. Management decisions are not changing things for the better for the landscape, for wildlife, and for the public that uses it.
 
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Akcabin

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As per the question of would it effect the public. Maybe not you but your kids or grandkids yes.
Having government lease public lands to specific groups. Gives that specific group special rights.
Figure this. You take time to take you're grandkids out into the bush and they develop the desire to make a living doing that. Maybe become an outfitter or a guide. What, they can't because the government sold that right ! And a fellow who lives a thousand miles away has the government backed rights to do this?
And the fellow with the special rights has first shot at keeping it forever? And they can form an organization that can call the shots ? And charge the public more money to cover their own internal government expenses ? Hunting should not be limited because folks can't afford it.
To me more government isn't the answer to anything ! And the free market system should be able to survive. And produce the best outfitters and guides.
And the government should not protect someone who lives thousands of miles from the resources that belong to all . Including new folks who work hard and want to do this. They have to use their way in to use a government resource.
Again just my thoughts. More government is not the answer
 

elkstalker88

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Aug 11, 2021
Messages
6
As per the question of would it effect the public. Maybe not you but your kids or grandkids yes.
Having government lease public lands to specific groups. Gives that specific group special rights.
Figure this. You take time to take you're grandkids out into the bush and they develop the desire to make a living doing that. Maybe become an outfitter or a guide. What, they can't because the government sold that right ! And a fellow who lives a thousand miles away has the government backed rights to do this?
And the fellow with the special rights has first shot at keeping it forever? And they can form an organization that can call the shots ? And charge the public more money to cover their own internal government expenses ? Hunting should not be limited because folks can't afford it.
To me more government isn't the answer to anything ! And the free market system should be able to survive. And produce the best outfitters and guides.
And the government should not protect someone who lives thousands of miles from the resources that belong to all . Including new folks who work hard and want to do this. They have to use their way in to use a government resource.
Again just my thoughts. More government is not the answer
Well put @Akcabin I agree 100%.
 

kwyeewyk

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Feb 22, 2019
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967
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Washington
Meant to add some thoughts to this over the weekend but didn't get around to it. For those less familiar with NEPA, a "CX" is a Categorical Exclusion, which is basically a category of actions that are considered relatively common actions that have been previously analyzed for effects and are considered to be highly unlikely to have "significant" effects to the "human environment." These actions are excluded from the normal NEPA process, which would be an Environmental Assessment (EA) with a Finding of No Significant Effect (FONSI), or if effects are found to be "Significant", then an Environment Impact Statement (EIS).

To document that an action is Categorically Excluded, a CX form is used to describe the action, identify the Categorical Exclusion that covers the action, and then document that this specific action would fall within the acceptable bounds of non-significance by answering the questions in the list of Extraordinary Circumstances. If those circumstances are all met, the proposed action is considered to be excluded from NEPA and no further analysis is necessary.

Normally, as they said, a CX is not put out for public comment as the whole point of the CX process is to make NEPA more functional and prevent re-analysis of issues that have consistently been shown to be non-significant. So the fact that they did put this one out for comments shows that there's some internal hesitancy on the CX. Based on what @Nameless Range reported that they are planning to remove the WSA from the permit, I'm guessing that was the source of hesitancy.

But, with the WSA removed, and no Recreation Management plan that addresses outfitters, number of clients, etc., there is no RMP guidance restricting the expansion. So, then it comes down to the Extraordinary Circumstances. Honestly I think I agree with the assessment of each of those. So in the end, if I were on this team or was the decision maker, I would feel good about doing this action as CX with the exclusion of the WSA.

Possibly the most that could be gained at this point would be to get them to at least set some number for number of clients, trips, days etc. I don't think they will go for doing an EA unless the CX was actually appealed and upheld, which is unlikely, as someone would have to show that the CX isn't actually appropriate and demonstrate that they would be harmed by the decision.

If they were to do an EA, honestly it's just less time they will have to spend on things like fixing bridges in cutthroat habitat. Their conclusion will be the same--no significant effect, and the action will go forward, again, unless someone can demonstrate a flaw in their analysis and harm to them from the action. With nothing in a Recreation Management plan to limit these types of activities, it is BLM's multiple use mandate to provide access to public lands for these types of uses.

These types of issues probably only have a chance of really being address at the RMP level. If there was enough push to address outfitting on BLM lands, it could be included in a recreation management plan to put sideboards on the actions. Long and frustrating process most likely that would need some backing from larger organizations.

Just my thoughts, not meant to discourage anyone from commenting, in fact the more comments the better as it will let BLM know that there's a potential issue and might make it easier to address at the RMP level at some point in time. But my prediction is this goes through as a CX.

the fellow with the special rights has first shot at keeping it forever
In this case with BLM, there isn't a special right that is kept forever, multiple outfitters can operate in the same area on BLM, and permits only last 10 years with no base property connection like you have with livestock grazing. But I hear you on those types of permits and leases, especially when they are using them for property valuations!
 
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