From: Kendall Flint, MDPresident, Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance
Re: Permanent Protection
Hello and best wishes from East Glacier!
This summer I had the pleasure of sharing lunch with a special friend in Browning’s Junction Café. We share an unwavering desire to protect the Badger-Two Medicine. During our conversation my friend objected to hopes for permanent protection of the Badger-Two Medicine. I don’t assume to understand that objection. But for purposes of clarity, to reduce potential misunderstanding, and to move forward with honesty and integrity, I offer the following thoughts about the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance’s efforts in the area. Please feel free to share them with anyone who wonders what we mean when we say “permanent protection”. Hopefully these ideas can provide a solid reference in our future work together.
Clarity begins with our formal mission and vision statements:
The Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance is “Dedicated to the protection, stewardship, and shared enjoyment of the culturally- and ecologically-irreplaceable wildlands of the Badger-Two Medicine and its interconnected ecosystems.”
And it is our vision that “A child of future generations will recognize and can experience the same cultural and ecological richness that we find in the wildlands of the Badger-Two Medicine today.”
Ecologically, culturally, legally, and recreationally the Badger-Two Medicine is special and unique. Unfortunately its special qualities have not provided it with security from the threat of extractive industrial development. Under its current management structure, albeit during a prior administration, it was sliced cartographically into segments and leased with intent to drill for oil. Even if current efforts to eliminate those leases are successful, there’s reason to worry that the threat (i.e., of oil or gas drilling) could be resurrected unless the current management principals are changed.
We propose to help change those principals, and we envision: • Conservation-based management, valuing ecological and cultural and quiet-recreational qualities as best-use landscape goals; • Recognition of Tribal reserved rights (per Treaty/Agreement of 1896) in the Badger-Two Medicine through Blackfeet co-management of the landscape, for reasons of respect, knowledge, strategy, and justice; and • Perpetuity.
That comprises our agenda for Permanent Protection. We have no less and no more in mind. The details of eventual co-managed permanent protection are unknowable to us. We have no commitment to any specific designation, (e.g., Wilderness), or proclamation, (e.g., National Monument), or Special Management Area action, though we appreciate strengths in each of these possibilities. We imagine that the path to Permanent Protection may lead through the Lewis and Clark National Forest Planning process. And we aspire to support Blackfeet Tribal initiatives that move toward such a goal.
With those statements to guide us, we hope this goal of Permanent Protection of a Blackfeet co-managed Badger-Two Medicine wild and cultural landscape may align closely with yours.
We admire, respect and honor the ancient history of Blackfeet land stewardship, relationship with, and connection to the Badger-Two Medicine. May our shared goals lead to their continuation into perpetuity.
With friendship and warmest regards,
Kendall Flint, MD President, Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance