Clearing Clearwater

The following is an article from good friend and Speak For Wolves Organizer and promoter.

He is well versed and quite knowledgeable in wildlife and wilderness ecosystems and habitat biodiversity. If you care about the sustainability of our forests then please read!

Brett Haverstick: The future of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, Idaho

Brett Haverstick: The future of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is in jeopardy
Sat., March 10, 2018

By Brett Haverstick

An informal public comment period just ended regarding the development of alternatives for the new forest plan on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests in north central Idaho. The plan will provide management direction for these forests over the next 10-30 years.

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the revision is expected in December, in which there will be another opportunity for public involvement. The recent comment period was an opportunity for citizens to shape those alternatives.

It’s unfortunate that Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert was unwilling to schedule a public meeting in Spokane, despite the fact that many people from Eastern Washington visit these forests, particularly the North Fork Clearwater.

The Forest Plan DEIS will contain a range of alternatives for the public to consider, including the acreage of recommended wilderness for these two forests, how much road building and logging will occur and where, and whether the new plan will contain measurable and enforceable standards for soils, sediment levels, old growth and fish and wildlife habitat. Since the forest plan is a contract with the public, it is critical for it to contain a high level of accountability.

The Forest Service indicated in its initial proposed action (2014) that it wants to increase logging on these forests from current annual levels of 40-50 million board feet to 150 million board feet! In order to triple the cut, the new forest plan would not contain any of the measurable and enforceable standards mentioned above, and instead would allow the development of some of the best fish and wildlife habitat in the Lower 48.

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests have tremendous biodiversity, and offer crucial habitat for threatened bull trout, Chinook salmon and steelhead populations. Canada lynx, fisher, wolverines, gray wolves, mountain goats, harlequin ducks, herds of elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep also live here. These forests are considered a recovery area for grizzly bears. All of these species, and their habitat, would be threatened by the agency’s proposed forest plan. The Forest Service should help these populations persist on both forests by protecting their diverse habitat types. Unfortunately, the agency has indicated it intends to do just the opposite.

A paltry 20 percent of the 1.5 million acres of roadless wildlands on the forests was recommended for wilderness in the early draft forest plan (2014), with the rest being threatened with development, including increased off-road vehicle abuse. Places like the Kelly Creek Roadless Area could receive some protection but be fragmented by snowmobiles. Portions of the beloved Mallard-Larkins Roadless Area could be vulnerable to development. The Weitas Creek Roadless Area, the heart of Wild Clearwater Country, may receive no protection at all, despite being the biggest roadless area in the entire basin.

If there is a favorite place that you go hunting or fishing, you should feel uneasy about the direction these forests are heading. If there is a special place that your family visits every year to go camping and hiking, you should be concerned at the potential for greater development and increased off-road vehicle abuse. If you feel that our national forests should be managed as reservoirs of biodiversity and clean drinking water, instead of managed as tree farms, you should be alarmed.

Contact the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Planning Team at Tell them to schedule a public meeting in Spokane for citizens to learn more about this important process. Forest Supervisor Probert should not be able to shortchange the public, and our democracy, in an effort to hand control of our public wildlands and watersheds to the timber industry.

Brett Haverstick is the education and outreach director with Friends of the Clearwater, a public lands advocacy group based in Moscow, Idaho.

Tags: Brett Haverstick, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests


From deep in the bottom of his sleeping bag, in a recessed niche of the Snake River gorge in Idaho, on a cold late fall night, a hunter, warmed by a cozy campfire, slowly melts off to a well earned deep sleep. The long futile day of hunting, still unable to bag his trophy elk, lends fodder to a dream of the big buck that continues to elude him.

Subconsciously, the events of the previous evening’s round of campfire storytelling shared by his hunting peers, spilled into his dream.


As is often the case with dreams, a round of good and believable storytelling by a bunch of guys sitting around a campfire would conjure images around in your subconscious for days! Then, taking into account the stories such as these are honed to a fevered pitch by hundreds of years of historical folklore and myths retold over and over, the story you hear today has no original truth to it!

The storyteller nonetheless swears to the authenticity of the story, as if the event just happened and testifies he witnessed the hungry, vicious, marauding wolves, and the toll these predators are taking on the elk population, “yes sir, these vermin kill for fun!” “There were carcasses half eaten, blood and gore everywhere-Why those poor elk never heard it coming, didn’t have a chance, I tell you!” And then to drive home the point, he proceeds to collaborate further saying, his friends and neighbor ranchers have seen their cattle business take such a financial hit, due to the mass murder of their beloved bovine, because of WOLVES!


So, the stories does what good myths are designed to do, and the hunter’s dream mixes reality and sleep induced delusions into his subconscious, as dreams often do- and he reasons that this surely must explain why he cannot find the elusive buck!……..

The next morning, he rises early as this is his last day of the hunting trip. Today is the day he mutters to himself, I will not let any wolf deprive him of his 5 point rack! Resolved that he would get his trophy elk, feeling irritated that the gray wolf is decimating herds and his chance at bragging rights!………

Whether dreamt, or perceived while wide awake, this is the opinion, testimony, and duty the hunter wears! Then with gusto and providence, he goes forth, spreading the lie that wolves are to blame for EVERYTHING!

I came upon an article posted by Idaho Department of Fish & Game recently. It was about the continued antics of Wildlife Services in Idaho, (division of U.S. Agriculture and Fish and Game). The picture showed a very large grey wolf, being held by its rear legs, head to the ground, a rancher smiling while holding up the dead animal. The story told of how Wildlife Services would run ads soliciting hunter’s help. The at ask them to report any action people may see in the field of wolf depredation. Telling the hunter or rancher to report any and all dead or injured animals so that Wildlife Services can bring a quick end to problem. Saying, “the wolves would be taken care of!” In other words, killed. No proof needed that the wolf had a depredation! Just report, and leave the science to us!

Once again it seems the ranchers are claiming wolf attacks in order that the wolves will be killed. We all are aware of the brutality against wolves in Idaho. My opinion is that Wildlife Services are there to kill, oh, wait…let me rephrase! “To control the the problem!”

So, if a rancher calls it depredation, then it is taken at full face value, whether or not their cow was killed by wolves or not! In this particular case, it turned out, they were justified in taking out the whole pack of wolves based on a ranch hand seeing a lone wolf near his property earlier that week, and it must have been what killed his cow! Although, it seems, no other wolves were around, the lone wolf and his family were “culled” in reparation to prevent further loss to the valuable commodity, “the cow”!

We continue to hear of the vast hatred of wolves in all areas. Wyoming continues its wolf hunt in trophy zones although the limit is nearly filled. Only 2 wolves out of 44 holding the death sentence are left for slaughter. Of course in predator zones, the killing continues. Word of mouth and bragging keep the count as it rises. We will not know until April 1, 2018 of exact number of wolf killings. They do keep a running record for predator killings, and hunter killing, but any wolf killed by a rancher or wildlife Services for Fish and Game, but no report will reveal facts until that date. And they will not release any name involved either.

But, I wonder if there isn’t something psychologically deviant to wildlife services work to control wolf populations. Clearly the message to cattlemen and hunters is that there does not need to be any proof that the wolf was to blame for a dead cow. Justification only needs to be a possibility and Wildlife Services can pad the culpability numbers to paint the picture, and the end (of wolves) justifies the means and the war on wolves rages on.

Their participation in “justified culling, or “wolf management” in what little is left of the wild world comes from a willingness to cede control. It’s easy to berate this compelling need to run things. We harness the wind. We control fire. We control wolves. We control elk and deer herds. Or at least we try. All of this seems ridiculous, to the point that the only thing that seems out of control is our attempt to domesticate the biosphere to the level that we ourselves have become domesticated.

Now here we are at the turn of another winter Solstice, an astronomical reality that does not care whether we, as individuals or as a species, continue into the future.

Man’s unbidden presence in this, the “right here and now” has depended to some degree on controlling a universe of wildness agnostic to our existence. Control is part of our animal need to persist and has served us well. But this compulsion to be constantly in command, even the illusion of it, only seems to feed the fire of species genocide, and to extinguish some piece of my animal nature!

So, tonight I’ll follow the music of the untamed wind, while being warmed and comforted at my campfire. I will not be regaled or thrilled by “folklore” stories. I will sleep soundly dreaming of the nobility of the wolf pack, somewhere in the wilderness attending to their own family’s needs of survival. The elk herd hid from the wolf AND the hunter for now.

Hearing a forlorn and long echoing howl cascading through the valley. The melodic cacaphany grows in testimony to the days events.

And I will be comforted and lulled into sleep by the awe inspiring call of the wild, the melodic tempo of distant drums that reverberate in a primordial ancient subcontinent, recessed in folds of time and memory, that I am grateful to hear and feel.

Nature speaks often, and only a few of us today are privileged to hear her voice!

Sometimes we just need to let go of controlling the majesty of nature and give thanks instead, for a job well done!

by Karen LaFountain