Flashback Friday: Daines Elevated Concerns of Wealthy Landowners in the Crazy Mountains 

Rachel Prevost2020, Daines, News, Republicans

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Friday, July 17, 2020

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Flashback Friday: Daines Elevated Concerns of Wealthy Landowners in the Crazy Mountains 
 
Helena, MT – A new Montana Standard column highlights Senator Steve Daines’ history of prioritizing his rich friends over protecting public land access. In 2017, Daines elevated the priorities of wealthy landowners  several of whom were his donors – in their effort to remove a district forest ranger who worked to protect public access to the region. Montanans took note of Daines’ misaligned priorities and noted that the “wealthiest people” and his “largest campaign donors” have his ear and that he is no friend to Montana’s public lands. 

Highlights

Montana Standard: The inexcusable shrinking Crazy Mountains
By: Kathryn QannaYahu

Recently touted as a “made-in-Montana compromise”, this 3rd land exchange proposal (east-side of the Crazy Mountains) is anything but — let’s call it what it is — a big money sellout.

To summarize what got us to this point:

2015, Responding to Sen. Daines, concerning Trail 115/136, Erickson wrote, “The Forest Service maintains that it holds unperfected prescriptive rights on this trail system as well as up Sweet Grass Creek to the north based on a history of maintenance with public funds and historic and continued public and administrative use.”

2017, As landowners objected to Sienkiewicz’s multiple-use management, Custer Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson, began shifting Forest Service management, away from previous long-held FS positions defending and maintaining public access in the Crazies.

June 16, 2017, District Ranger, Alex Sienkiewicz was removed, after Sen. Daines wrote to Ag Sec. Sonny Perdue, including landowner false allegations. After public outcry and an investigation, Sienkiewicz was re-instated, but has not been involved with any proposed exchanges.

Taken as a whole, between east and west-side obstruction requiring litigation, proposed southern exchange, now the east proposal, we’re seeing the inexcusable shrinking of the Crazy Mountains, a theft from the public’s hands.
 

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