Forest Service encouraging reckless behavior

Print Article

Flathead Forest Supervisor Chip Weber ignores the advice of his own staff and grizzly bear experts, suggesting we consider all recreational activities to have an equal basis of risk when deciding whether to promote them. His staff and other bear experts note in their Board of Review recommendations against trail running and mountain biking that negative encounters between bears and bikers are “disproportionately high” compared to those with hikers.

Mr. Weber instead uses Wikipedia data on bear-caused human deaths that is not adjusted to be proportional to the frequency of the recreation type. He’s trying to make it look like walking and hiking are the more dangerous activities when they are instead simply among the most popular. He goes on to urge people to take risks according to their own values and to “own the consequences of your choices.”

Consequences, however, are not equal. When someone drowns in a river, the government doesn’t drain the river. When someone tangles with a bear, too often the government kills the bear that was simply defending itself or its cubs.

The current debate is not about ending trail running or mountain biking in bear habitat. It is about the Forest Service’s duty to educate the public about how speed increases the risk of injury or death to people and bears. It is about not issuing commercial permits for foot and bike races that instead send exactly the wrong message to forest visitors.

Supervisor Weber is in the process of building another 79 miles of mountain bike trails in bear habitat and encouraging reckless behavior on those trails. He is also rewarding his private trail-building partners with permits to commercially promote irresponsible behavior on those trails. Then he’ll wrongly blame “too many bears” for the conflicts that ensue. That is not leadership.

Keith Hammer is chair of the Swan View Coalition

Print Article

Read More Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor Aug. 22

August 22, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Success is the lonely hunter Antisemitism is on the rise and I don’t know why. There isn’t a group of people in the world who has contributed more to science, technology and medicine than the Jews. ...

Comments

Read More

Trump’s affinity for tyrannical leaders

August 18, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake I couldn’t disagree more with the points Mickale Carter was attempting to make in his letter (July 25). In particular, Mr. Carter’s view that Trump’s rhetoric regarding the so-called “Squad” is a mer...

Comments

Read More

Repressive legislation and mass hysteria

August 18, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Violent criminal acts that result in the deaths and injuries of multiple victims, like the shootings in El Paso and Dayton last weekend, are without a doubt symptoms of serious social dysfunction in ...

Comments

Read More

Letters to the editor Aug. 18

August 18, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Red flag laws I support rational gun control as a fourth-generation Montanan, a pastor, the mother of a victim of gun violence, the widow of a Navy vet who served as a deputy sheriff, and as a hunte...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2019 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X