Area Actions

Several of our areas have been the focus of activity, and we report on them individually by district.

Big Spring, 8th District. As you know the National Park Service is preparing a Draft General Management Plan for Ozark National Scenic Riverways. This summer a series of public meetings were held to present preliminary management alternatives. The comment period, originally July 31, was extended to September 11. Two of the three action alternatives proposed designation of the Park Service’ portion of the Big Spring Wilderness (3536 acres on Ozark National Scenic Riverways; 4512 acres on Mark Twain National Forest).

We know that there were many of you who contacted the National Park Service to support preservation of Big Spring Wilderness, and to correct the many problems facing management of the Riverways. Thanks to everyone. We hope to hear more about the results of that public comment soon and will report back.

Lower Rock Creek Wilderness, 8th District. ‘Lashley Cemetary’ is a 243-acre project within our Lower Rock Creek area. While it is billed as a salvage project it includes cutting blown down trees and developing associated roads. This would not be done when it becomes designated a Wilderness, and must not be done now. We oppose this ill-advised and unnecessary intrusion and urge that you write to the Mark Twain National Forest. Here is the web link for more specific information: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/marktwain/projects/projects/50904/

Bell Mountain, 8th District. A splendid Wilderness, designated in 1980, with deep valleys, extensive forest, and scenic vistas of the St. Francois Mountains. Recently there have been reports that the growing scourge of feral hogs in Missouri has reached the hollows of Bell Mountain. The Forest Service has reached out to MWC for support in eradicating this menace to wildlife, vegetation, and water quality. We have encouraged them to deal with the threat aggressively. Please report any sightings of feral hogs at Bell Mountain or any other designated or proposed Wilderness to the Forest Service and also to MWC. Feral hogs are a problem Missouri does not need.

Smith Creek, 9th District. Earlier this year Wallis Warren, a member of MWC affiliate Ozarks Fly Fishers, helped set up a meeting with Ninth District Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer. Several mid-Missouri wilderness supporters met with the Congressman regarding the proposal. Photographs, a map with boundaries, written descriptions, and other background information were provided to the Congressman at that meeting. He expressed a positive interest in pursuing the designation of Smith Creek.

We are staying in touch with Congressman Luetkemeyer on this important issue and look forward to helping make this happen.

Swan Creek Wilderness, 7th District. This spring we prepared an area-specific packet for Swan Creek and had several folks from the district deliver this information and discuss it with Congressman Roy Blunt. Water quality is one of the district’s most important issues and protecting Swan Creek as Wilderness protects one of the highest quality streams in all of Missouri.

Horseback riders use Swan Creek and there has been interest expressed from the Show-Me Missouri Chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of America regarding our wilderness proposal. Wilderness and backcountry issues are basic to their interests. In fact, horse use has always been an integral part of western wilderness and is an important use of several of our wilderness areas in Missouri as well.

This summer we participated in a discussion about horses and wilderness with members of the Sho-Me Missouri Chapter of BCHA and a couple of their national members/staff. There is no mention of specific wilderness use in the Wilderness Act of 1964 and this spring an omnibus wilderness bill passed Congress that included language regarding horse use of trails while maintaining wilderness standards. We, along with members of the BCHA, are considering how we might adopt this national language in an appropriate way for Swan Creek Wilderness, and how BCHA can help and support our campaign. Working together we can have a stronger voice for Swan Creek Wilderness and for all Missouri wilderness.

Preparing for 2010:

There are important issues on the national agenda and wilderness has not been one of them. With your help, when an opportunity arises for Missouri wilderness legislation, we will be ready.

Let’s all keep up the good work and strong voice for the wilderness of our state!

Missouri Wilderness Coalition
P.O. Box 377
Boss, MO 65440
(573) 626-1021 or (314) 602-6639
mail@mowild.org
www.mowild.org

4 Comments on Fighting for Missouri Wilderness – Update from the Missouri Wilderness Coalition:

  1. Paul Gaines says:

    Because of the rediculous effort to prevent common sense salvage efforts on the Lashley Cemetery Salvage project. Treeland Inc. will be posting the property that includes Cathedral Canyon. We asked for support from the MO Wilderness Coalition, The Sierra Club, and Heartwood, and these groups would not cooperate. We are disgusted with the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to cancel this salvage operation. We will no longer be able to use the area as we have in the past! Please notify all members of this hiking group that they will be prosecuted if caught on any property owned by Treeland Inc. Thank You, Paul Gaines; Treeland

  2. Paul Gaines says:

    I am refering only to the property that includes Cathedral Canyon.

    Thanks,
    Paul Gaines
    Treeland Inc.
    p.gaines@mcwp.com for any questions on what took place to cause this.

  3. Paul Gaines says:

    I noticed that my previous comment was posted on the 100 mile endurance blog. Here it is again.

    Chuck asked me to explain why Treeland Inc. feels that we should post our property that contains Cathedral Canyon..

    The U.S. Forest Service developed a salvage plan for an area of ground that borders our property in this area as a result of the terrible storm that we had on May 8th 2009. There were straight line winds that destroyed thousands of acres of timber in this area. The area has been changed forever! In many areas 80% of the timber stand is completely down on the ground! Out of our 900 or so acres almost half was severely damaged. The surrounding areas that the Forest Service has is damaged also. In the next weeks I will provide some pictures of some of the damage so you can see how awful it is.

    We use this area for recreational purposes such as hunting, hiking etc. Our business is growing timber for Madison County Wood Products Inc., however this property was not for that purpose. When the property was acquired my father absolutely fell in love with the beauty of it and decided to share it with family and friends, and hikers who used the trail going into the canyon. For many years we have appreciated the respect that people showed for our property. Never once have we had to clean up trash along the trail!

    Fall of 2009 we hear that several groups (Missouri Wilderness Coalition, Sierra Club, Heartwood) were trying to prevent the Forest Service from selling down timber on an area well away from the Canyon that borders our property. Our interest in seeing this area salvaged is to clean it up so we/you could eventually use the area for recreation. My father an I love to turkey hunt together in the Spring. The way the damage has occurred you cannot even begin to make your way through the forest. The timber is laying like dominoes piled on top of each other.

    We shared our interest with the three groups and when they blew us off we wrote a letter to the local sierra club that we would close our property lines if they and the other groups did not show any concern or respect for our needs in this area.

    To make a long story a little shorter we were promised by a member of Heartwood that we would be invited to a meeting with them and the Forest Service on the property to try to come to a mutual agreement.

    This week we were notified by the Forest Service that they met with Heartwood, Missouri Wilderness Coalition, and The Sierra Club and decided not to move forward with the sale. They said that the groups threatened to sue and they didn’t want to be tied up in that.

    We were not invited to the meeting and are very disappointed in the outcome. We were lied to, and will not forget it!

    I know I only mentioned my father and I but there were many other people that we know that use that land for recreational use that commented in support for the sale. I researched many Internet sites that these organizations were asking for people to comment negatively on the sale. All of these sites were very vague on what had happened to the property and suggested that it was an attempt to open roads and destroy the ecosystem.

    No one can change what happened on May 8th, and I wish the area were not damaged by the storm. I didn’t even care who did the salvage work. I just wanted to see the area accessible again (by foot).

    Now, you know why we are posting the property and I hope you can understand our reasoning. I know that not every person who hikes up that trail is a member of one of these organizations, but I guarantee you that many of you are.

    Why should we care about other peoples uses of this area when they do not care about ours? Fair is Fair

    If people want to use the area we expect you to ask us for written permission before you enter. We are not bluffing on this. We will prosecute if we catch anyone trespassing on this piece of property.

    Please let these groups know your opinions on this matter. Our aim is to show the true nature of some of the leaders of these groups, and this should catch some attention of members and supporters.

    If you DON’T support these groups you can email me to let me know, and we will consider allowing you access to the part of the trail including the Canyon that we own.

    My email is p.gaines@mcwp.com

  4. Chuck says:

    Paul,
    I’m also willing to give this topic its own post although this site has seen few updates lately. The later is my own fault. Just drop me something in email with photos or not and I’ll publish your full story.

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