The public lands and access issues reared their head in the Crazy Mountains again. FS Yellowstone District Ranger Alex Sienkiewicz became the District Ranger in 2011, managing for multiple use, according to Region 1 Forest Service policy. In pursuing public access and maintaining historical trails, Sienkiewicz drew the ire of certain Sweet Grass and Park County landowners who began targeting him in his position in 2016. Utilizing their various positions in organizations, such as the Montana Outfitters & Guides Association, Montana Farm Bureau and the Montana Stockgrowers Association, the landowners complained to Senator Steve Daines (including false allegations), Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell and newly appointed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in 2016 & 2017. Sienkiewicz was removed from his District Ranger position on June 16, 2017.
PLWA responded with a letter of support, refuting the special interest landowner allegations with FOIA and other documents obtained by Enhancing Montana’s Wildlife & Habitat the previous fall.
- PLWA’s Letter Defending Alex Sienkiewicz as Yellowstone District Ranger
- Refutation Documentation Defending Alex Sienkiewicz as Yellowstone District Ranger (companion to PLWA’s Letter, includes the MT Farm Bureau Federation letter to Sen. Daines, certain Crazy Mountain landowners letter to Sen. Daines and Ag. Sec. Sonny Perdue, Sen. Daines letter Ag Sec. Sonny Perdue.)
The Forest Service initially reported Sienkiewicz was being investigated for the landowner allegations and removed due to pressure from Sen. Daines and Ag. Sec. Perdue. The investigation would not be made public, nor subject to a FOIA. Numerous letters of support for Sienkiewicz were sent to Congressmen, the Forest Service, Perdue, newspapers and publications. On Oct. 11, 2017, it was reported that Alex Sienkiewicz was being restored to his Yellowstone District Ranger position, effective about Oct. 20th.
PLWA is currently in data gathering mode concerning the Crazy Mountain public access trails situation.