Montanans for Multiple Use

Mission Statement

Montanans for Multiple Use’s mission “is to provide equal recreation opportunities to all responsible Recreationalists, Provide recreational opportunities in and around Western Montana, (and) to preserve access to public lands in and around Western Montana, and to improve the social and economic climate in our community.” [Montanans for Multiple Use, accessed 10/25/18]

Montanans for Multiple Use and its North Lincoln County chapter “believe that the National Forest is only managed by the US Forest Service, not owned. It is a forest that should be open for use by all responsible recreationalists. Not just the elitists. […] MFMU supports SCIENCE based MULTIPLE USE land management policies.  We do not advocate clearcutting the whole forest, but we do not want to see it burn up either. We value wilderness and the unique recreational experience that can be found in those lands, but we believe that northwestern Montana currently has enough wilderness to satisfy both the demand and need for such areas.” [Montanans for Multiple Use, accessed 10/25/18]

Summary

Montanans for Multiple Use is an advocacy group that pushes for fewer restrictions on the use of public lands. The group opposes federal land ownership and wants public land transferred to the state of Montana. It also filed a lawsuit to challenge wilderness designations in Montana.

While the IRS revoked its tax exempt status in 2013, the North Lincoln County chapter remains in good standing with the Montana Secretary of State’s office and appears to be operating the Montanans for Multiple Use website.

Notable Activities & Statements on Public Lands Policy

Montanans for Multiple Use opposed federal land ownership and wanted public land transferred to the state of Montana.

Montanans for Multiple Use’s president said, “‘it’s time to give serious consideration to turning federal public land over to the state of Montana.’” In an op-ed, Montanans for Multiple Use’s president Clarence Taber wrote, “The solution is change. It’s time to give serious consideration to turning federal public land over to the State of Montana so people in Montana are accountable to the citizens for management of our public land, our access and our economy. This fall, Montanans for Multiple Use plans to sponsor an open, professionally moderated debate to air out both sides of the Transfer of Public Lands issue. As soon as the date is set everyone will be invited.” [Flathead Beacon, 09/25/14]

Montanans for Multiple Use filed a lawsuit to challenge wilderness designations in Montana.

Montanans for Multiple Use challenged wilderness designations in the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forest plans because they “restricted motorized use.”  A federal judge, in 2017, ruled against a group of snowmobilers and other interest groups, including Montanans for Multiple Use, who were “seeking to challenge wilderness provisions in the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle national forest plans,” thereby “upholding protections that restrict or limit motorized use. At issue was the U.S. Forest Service’s 2015 revised forest management plans for the two forests, which recommended certain rugged and unspoiled areas for wilderness designation.” The 2015 Kootenai and Idaho-Panhandle forest plans “closed access to some recommended wilderness areas where snowmobiles had been allowed to ride in the past.” The plaintiffs “accused the Forest Service of improperly excluding snowmobile use from the forest’s recommended wilderness areas and improperly recommending new waterways for the national Wild and Scenic River Act designation.” [Flathead Beacon, 10/24/17]

The plaintiffs criticized “the Forest Service over the way it designates and manages potential wilderness areas,” claiming “the Forest Service lacks any clear way to define a potential wilderness area, and therefore has no good way of making rules for those places. In Page 2 of 2 particular, the argument goes, the Forest Service has no way to justify banning snowmobiles and mountain bikes from places they’ve been using since 1977, such as Ten Lakes.” [The Missoulian, 01/16/16]

Revenue & Expenditures

The IRS revoked Montanans for Multiple Use’s tax exempt status in 2013. [Guidestar, accessed 10/25/18] Its registration with the Montana Secretary of State is in “active involuntary intent.” However, its North Lincoln County chapter is in good standing and appears to be operating the Montanans for Multiple Use website. [Montana Secretary of State, accessed 11/13/18]

Montanans for Multiple Use North Lincoln County Chapter lists its gross receipts as less than $50,000 on its 990-N e-Postcards from 2015-2017. No other forms 990s are available for either Montanans for Multiple Use or its North Lincoln County chapter on the IRS website or Guidestar. [Montanans for Multiple Use North Lincoln County chapter Forms 990 2015-17, accessed 10/25/18]