Why no discussion about future management of the Crazies?

Thursday, August 15, 2019


There have been several recent articles about the controversial trail and access issues in the Crazy Mountains. I tip my hat to those trying to sit down together to resolve them.  

However, I’m reminded of what a friend who is a Native American told me about how resource management issues like this are addressed on tribal land. He said that during these discussions, one chair is left vacant to represent the wildlife that doesn’t have a voice in these decisions. 

From what I have read and heard, there is no “empty chair” in discussions about future management  of the Crazies.  “Access” is the goal. Not wildlife conservation.  Maybe this is OK if recreation is your priority.  But knowing some of the groups involved, I would have thought that protecting wildlife and ecological integrity would trump recreational development.

There’s a growing body of scientific literature documenting the many impacts of trails and recreational activities -- and not just those that involve motors -- on wildlife, water quality and ecological processes.  And habitat “islands,” like the Crazy Mountains that are not connected to larger wildlands, are particularly susceptible to habitat fragmentation from trails that can negatively affect a variety of species.

If these organizations and agencies are willing to admit that their primary interest is the expansion of recreation opportunities, so be it. But if they believe that access is the same as conservation, they are sorely mistaken.  In fact, it will have the opposite effect. 

Dennis Glick