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Friday, June 14, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Wildlife habitat, connectivity, key to Lolo National Forest management plan

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Monday, April 1, 2024   

Today is the deadline for public comment on Montana's Lolo National Forest management plan. Advocates say the input will shape how the land is used for decades, but others say it could go further.

This is the first time the Lolo management plan has been revised since the late 1980s, said Montana Wildlife Federation board member and retired U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist Skip Kowalski.

It will shape how the forest is managed for the next 30 years - affecting everything from recreational use and wildlife protections, to logging rules and grizzly bear habitat connectivity.

"Its location, in the area of Missoula," said Kowalski, "is equidistant between the north Continental Divide grizzly bear recovery area, and the Cabinet-Yaak recovery area - which is in northwestern Montana - and the recovery area for grizzly bears in the Selway Bitterroot."

Some sporting and conservation groups want the plan to make wildlife habitat connectivity a bigger priority. Today is the last day for public comment.

Kowalski said the proposed management plan is a good first step in managing the Lolo - but he called it a "work in progress" that needs to consider Montana's growth, which is why public input is so critical.

"We have a lot of increased recreation use," said Kowalski. "There's a lot more people moving into western Montana, and this will give the Lolo and opportunity to be able to manage the National Forest in concert with all of these other development pressures that are occurring."

The proposal designates the entire Montana portion of the Great Burn as Wilderness, which is a critical step in safeguarding vital wildlife corridors in the face of climate change.

But Kowalski argued it should consider more roadless areas there, too.



Disclosure: Montana Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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