Earlier this week news broke that longtime FWP’s Wildlife Division Chief, Ken McDonald, has been “assigned different responsibilities.” This seems to fit a recent pattern of demotions, resignations and reassignments within the department ever since the current administration took office.
What concerns the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is that these personnel changes have all involved long-time and experienced staff with sound reputations using the best science available to not just manage and conserve Montana’s fish and wildlife, but also to safeguard Montana’s world-renowned hunting and fishing traditions. This to us undermines the very system of wildlife management that has made Montana the envy of the world.
Moreover, it appears that these added “responsibilities” that Mr. McDonald has now been assigned to oversee includes the newly created “habitat lease program”. This shift will likely continue the steady degradation of the Habitat Montana program, which is the state’s flagship program of conserving wildlife habitat in perpetuity. By redirecting funds towards temporary leases, it takes away from permanent access and conservation easements.
In short, we are facing the rampant politicization of FWP and the eroding of the Montana way of life. MT BHA is deeply concerned over this alarming trend and keeps close tabs on what we cannot afford to lose.
We wish Mr. McDonald all the best and thank him for his steadfast public service in the role of heading up the state's wildlife division.