This West Is OUR West

Telling On Themselves: Rural Cleansing in Idaho and Montana

Posted on June 4, 2015 by PoetHerbalist

Rural cleansing in Idaho & Montana

I just love it when someone slips up, and tells us country folk what’s really being planned for us.

Rural cleansing is the purposeful removal of rural citizens from the countryside and the relocation of rural populations into urban areas. Many public officials and media pundits scoff at the mere suggestion that rural cleansing is taking place, but the problem, you see, is that there are people who have inadvertently left tell-tale clues we can use to piece together things for ourselves.

One of the most startling clues I’ve run across lately comes from a July 1, 1998 newspaper article in The Montanian, which is published in Libby, a tiny rural town in Northwest Montana.

Did She Just Say That?

In the article, Libby County Commissioner, Rita Windom, informs us that she and other commissioners were approached by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) state land manager, Darlene Edge, with a proposal to cooperate in driving rural residents out of the Montana countryside into cities. When commissioners responded with horror, Windom says Edge replied

“Can’t you see we are doing you a favor by forcing people to move from rural areas into the urban areas. That way you can close roads…Why don’t you work with us and move these people out of the rural areas and into the urban areas so cities can shoulder more of the responsibilities and the county can save money?”

This exchange took place in a meeting regarding a document called The Wildlife Program Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), of which only 300 were published. According to Windom, there was very little public input because the few public meetings held were so poorly advertised.

But was this just an isolated, though shocking, incident? Did this public policy only affect Montana?  I don’t think so.  I’ll tell you why.

Sometime around 1997 I called a Boundary County, Idaho resident from Washington State regarding possible job openings in my field in Boundary County.  Her answer was that the woods had been shut down and 300 families had left.  She continued on to tell me she had seen a public land management agency document outlining a plan to empty North Idaho of people and turn the entire area into a wildlife corridor.  Naturally, she was outraged.

About ten years later, another reliable eyewitness told me that the same document had arrived at his home first.  The document was marked not for public view.  He had purchased a house that had previously been occupied by a public land management agency employee who had moved.  My source had opened the document and read it.  He confirmed that it said what my other friend had previously described to me.  In fact, he had lent her the document, which is how she happened to know what was in it.

I was never able to get my hands on that document, but when someone sent me a camera shot of the above article in The Montanian describing much the same policy being announced at much the same time as the eyewitness accounts, I wasted no time in getting a copy of the article.

Other evidence for believing that this article in The Montanian represents policies that affect Idaho, as well as Montana, is that, not too long ago, at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public meeting about listing the wolverine on the Endangered Species list, we were told that Idaho and Montana are now considered to be in the same management region by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The land and wildlife management policies are pretty much the same now.  This is why huge blocks of land, taking in N.W. Montana, Northern Idaho and N.E. Washington, are included in management plans for grizzly habitat, caribou habitat, wildlife corridors, etc.

Read full article here