Montana Public Radio

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

A small airplane coming in for a landing
iStock

The federal appeals court in Washington D.C. ordered the National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration last week to craft management plans for flight tours in Glacier National Park and 22 other national parks within the next two years.

Yellowstone National Park officials are reviewing thousands of public comments on a proposal to improve Wi-Fi access in developed areas. Some people who work in the park say it’s important for visitors and employee retention. Others worry it will only distract people from nature and lead to more commercialization in national parks. 

Truck carrying timber
Bell & Jeff (CC-BY-2.0)

The state and the U.S. Forest Service plan to ramp up a program on Montana’s national forests that uses timber sales with restoration components to fund non-commercial conservation work. The amount of timber currently being cut under the program could grow four times over the next year. The timber industry sees that as a much-needed boon.

Vanessa Fields, planning team leader for the National Bison Range, presenting at the public meeting in Polson May 1, 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio


The latest step in a years-long process laying out the future of the National Bison Range Monday night dredged up questions of race and public land ownership that have lingered since a failed 2016 proposal to transfer the refuge to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. 

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range near Moiese, MT.
Josh Burnham

Federal wildlife officials have agreed to prepare a conservation plan for Montana's National Bison Range as part of a settlement in a lawsuit brought by an environmental group. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will prepare what’s called a comprehensive conservation plan, or CCP, for the Bison Range by 2023.

The Service is drafting comprehensive conservation plans, or CCPs, and accompanying environmental analyses for two areas: one for the National Bison Range, and a separate CCP for the rest of the units within the refuge complex.
Mike Albans

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was in Polson and Kalispell this week, seeking public input on a pair of management plans for wildlife refuges in northwest Montana.

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new chief wants to prioritize and streamline the nation’s major Superfund cleanups. And that makes at least one watchdog organization nervous. EPA chief Scott Pruitt says America’s Superfund cleanups take too long to start and too long to finish.

Bison at the National Bison Range
Josh Burnham

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it’s assessing future management plans for the National Bison Range, including transferring control to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT).

A sign at the National Bison Range in northwest Montana.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Debate over transferring federal public lands to state ownership or management has largely dominated Montana’s U.S. House race between the main party candidates.

Across the country, some state lawmakers and members of Congress are pushing to transfer federal lands to state ownership or control, a movement that has gained traction and created some controversy.

Incumbent Republican Ryan Zinke and challenger Democrat Denise Juneau both say their stances on these issues are clear.

Richard Hader speaks with CSKT tribal attorney Shane Morigeau at a meeting on the proposed transfer of the National Bison Range.
Nicky Ouellet

  This post has been edited. The National Bison Range is nearly 19,000 acres, not 1,900 acres as originally posted. 

More than 100 people packed into the theater at the Salish Kootenai College Tuesday night to hear about the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ proposal to take over management of the National Bison Range from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fish and Wildlife supports transferring management.

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