The Montana Wildlife Federation recently sent letters to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell as well as Senator Jon Tester, Senator Steve Daines, and Congressman Greg Gianforte, asking for clarification of facts surrounding the reassignment of a district ranger working to improve public trail access to public land in the Crazy Mountains.
Large swaths of public land in the Crazy Mountains are inaccessible to the public. Yellowstone District Ranger Alex Siekienwicz has been working for years with landowners, hunters, and other stakeholders to defend and improve public access. The Forest Service recently removed Sienkiewicz from his position and started an investigation into his activities. MWF is seeking more information on how long Sienkiewicz will be kept out of his position, how the public will be kept informed of the investigation, and how the Forest Service intends to continue defending public access to public land on public roads and trails.
The reassignment of Mr. Siekienwicz is particularly troubling in light of deep cuts proposed for the US Forest Service’s budget. The Trump Administration’s proposed budget for 2018 cuts $1 billion from the Forest Service’s budget and proposes to eliminate 1,800 positions. Managing public access will be even more difficult if the agency is understaffed and underfunded.
See the letters here: