Reprinted with permission from the Island Park News.
This is in response to Tim Reynolds assessment, posted November 2 in the Post Register, regarding the community division in Island Park on the overpass issue, in which that particular part he is correct. However, his assessment as to the reason for that division is incorrect.
Mr. Reynolds begins his comments with an insult to the community, suggesting support of overpasses is a “no-brainer”, implying that anyone who does not support his position for overpasses is…well without a brain. Perhaps he should consider that it is this type of attitude that is perpetuating his isolation from neighbors, and the hesitancy for others to engage in “thought-provoking” discussions. He provides a second affront by suggesting the inability for the other side to be “reasoned and reasonable”.
But the other issue, and it is the primary issue, is the work that was conducted, starting many years ago, for the purposes of overpasses in Island Park. This work was hidden, and kept secret, from the Island Park community, starting with studies on Elk and Moose movement, clandestine meetings between the Idaho Transportation Department and Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) partners, meetings between those same groups and Idaho Fish & Game, the promotion of overpasses by a Y2Y created group, Island Park Safe Wildlife Passage Initiative (IPSWPI), the summer before the Hwy 20 project was ever announced to the public, and Mr. Reynolds himself being actively engaged with Y2Y. While Mr. Reynolds chastises the Island Park community for not engaging in a robust dialogue on overpasses, he himself, engaged in discussions with groups who chose to keep the whole activity secret. What a natural set up for a “us-versus-them” situation. There was no appearance of his making attempts for “working together” with Island Park citizens at that time. Why was he not doing that from the beginning? Along the same tenor, how ironic he chose to publish his thoughts in a city 80 miles away from the community.
This is the primary reason for the division. Mr. Reynolds correctly stated relationships have changed in Island Park. However, those relationships have always been built on trust, honesty, and respect. Island Park citizens are bonded to each other and have a fierce loyalty to Island Park, protecting and preserving it. Any person who works in secrecy, violating those principles, is not going to be accepted well, and there is nothing wrong with that. For that reason, it is his relationship with others that has changed.
Fortunately, the citizens have done their homework, discovered discrepancies in data, studied documentation about Y2Y and their intent to pursue connectivity goals with overpasses, and how they have engaged with state agencies behind the scenes. Any unwillingness to address all of this by Mr. Reynolds only serves to perpetuate the hesitation to engage with him, and others who support overpasses. As yet, nothing has been written or spoken about these particular aspects of overpasses by those who seek to have them built.
Mr. Reynolds, the next time you choose to write about community division and wanting more open dialogue, start with the truth. The “community ethic” for honesty and truth has not left Island Park Mr. Reynolds. It is still there, waiting for you to speak the truth.
If you want to know the truth about what is supposed to happen if wildlife overpasses and fencing become reality, read what their blueprint says they will do. (quote record requested information obtained from the IDFG)
"Therefore, ITD and IDFG will initially focus on justifying, locating, and designing wildlife underpasses and overpasses, and fencing that provide for conserving wildlife linkage and crossing areas for big game.
In association and in addition to this:
◾️We will incorporate the highway crossing and linkage needs of Idaho’s species of greatest conservation need, including those species associated with wetlands, streams and rivers, and that are endemic or localized to unique habitats.
◾️In concert with right‐of‐way wildlife underpass and overpass design, mitigation and conservation strategies will include land protection adjacent to identified right‐of‐ ways important to wildlife linkage and crossings in order to protect habitats outside areas of ITD responsibility but necessary to maintain and protect the underpass and overpass investments made within the right‐of‐way.
◾️We will incorporate aquatic connectivity needs, especially related to listed salmon and steelhead species where highway retrofits would promote connectivity of tributary habitats to main stem areas and open blocked areas to spawning adults and out‐migrating juveniles.
◾️Resource evaluation strategies and conservation areas identification will follow State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) Best Management Practices and the Western Governors Association (WGA) rule sets developed for defining, categorizing, modeling, assessing, aggregating, and categorizing fish and wildlife and habitats of concern, unfragmented lands and connectivity areas, terrestrial game and sportfish, and crucial habitats."
These are their words.
So are these.
Overpass and fencing scientists write about the influence of human activity near them, f or example, Beckmann-Roberts-Cramer wrote:
◾️"Wildlife over- passes should be closed to the public and any other human activities and roads should not be on or near wildlife overpasses, as it will hinder wildlife use of the structure (Clevenger and Ford 2010).
◾️In addition, Tony Clevenger, Senior Wildlife Research Scientist, Western Transportation Institute, stated “Distance from humans is the most important consideration in designing crossing structures for large carnivores. The further the better.”
Overpass structures and fencing will affect our access to the forest.
To say that our access would remain the same, and that there is will be no new plan for our forest is a lie.
◾️Maps and figures that have been published in this paper, are maps that the writer generated herself. They cannot be accessed by a general user to the IDFG website.
◾️If you look at the data they are generating, the reports include insects on a windshield in addition to the birds and mice.
◾️This data is being collected and generated by Rene Seidler and Hilary Turner, who are working as contractors within the IDFG. Ms. Turner is credited as helping Ms. Altshuld with her maps.
◾️This data includes unverified carcass reports by anonymous drivers and also sightings of live animals along the road. Yes live animals. They don't have to be an unfortunate roadkill to be counted, the need to calculate higher numbers has added this metric to the data collection. Both of these metrics largely contribute to the high reporting numbers. We all live here. We know there are not 35-60 dead animals a month on our road.
◾️The mobile app that that they are using to do this reporting through was developed by Yellowstone to Yukon and partners, and the IDFG is accepting reporting from any user that has dowloaded it for free.
◾️This data IS NOT found in the regular IDFG roadkill and carcass reporting system. It is data being collected for a private data base which is controlled by internal users.
◾️This data is completely controlled by the data input source, the data analysis technicians operating and sharing it, their data collection method, and the maps are generated by the person or persons who is the data source controller. The final reported information is the responsibility of the end user and a result of the data layers they chose to include.
I would like to thank Ms Altshuld, Seidler and Turner for so perfectly illustrating how science can be skewed, manipulated, and co-opted to suit a pre-determined outcome and purpose. Such ‘science’ is not ‘best science’, it is bought and paid for science.
WHO is the source?
Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y), the Idaho Fish and Game and local assistants, are the driving force behind the building of overpasses along Hwy 20 in Island Park. They are the driving force that have inserted the plans they desire into a highway project. They are the driving force behind the mis-information in this community and county.
The IDFG is lobbying state sportsmen groups to support this agenda, you may have seen some of their organizations listed on a county mailer promoting MORE MEAT, MORE FUR, MORE OPPORTUNITY to be found with wildlife overpasses and behind miles of fencing... Say WTFur?
Y2Y organized and created the Island Park Safe Wildlife Passage Initiative on Facebook beginning in June of 2016 and they are paying for ads to push their message on that social media page ahead of this election.
Y2Y also advocates in this local election campaign as the Fremont County Citizens for Safe Highways and Safe Highway for Island Park. All three are Y2Y.
Y2Y is based in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.
Y2Y is a foreign foundation and it’s network has great plans to influence our future and they have been actively lobbying in this election.
Do NOT be fooled by the deceptions.
Their truth…is their truth…it is NOT THE TRUTH.
A yes vote is NOT a vote for safe wildlife passage.
Everyone wants safe passage for wildlife and we support common sense solutions to achieve that.
A yes vote is a vote FOR Y2Y and IDFG’s overpasses and fencing.
On Nov 6th, I encourage you to VOTE NO.
How richly ironic it is, that despite all the well laid-paid for-planning they have done to force this down our throats, in the end they were not able to stop our vote and they cannot participate and vote themselves.
We have found the one component they cannot manipulate.
Research and opinion.
Making Sense of It All
This blog will help you make sense out of all the information on the website, how it affects IP, previous articles in the IP News, our history, and how efforts continue to put IP into various forms of conservation status.