Opposes trail route

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I have read numerous articles and listened to several local and national radio broadcasts over the past few months regarding the portion of the Pacific Northwest Trail that traverses the Yaak Valley in northwestern Montana.

One of the most troubling aspects of the whole conversation is the fact that in spite of a 1980 federal report recommending “no trail,” this portion of the trail was designated part of the Pacific Northwest Trail and thus a part of the National Scenic Trail in 2009 in direct opposition to said report, which stated that “there would be significant adverse environmental impacts on the grizzly bear and on fragile and frequently over-utilized high elevation areas.”

The trail was approved by Congress in 2009 when “attached” to another Omnibus Land Bill. It was also approved without any further environmental review, with no environmental impact statement, and with no comprehensive management plan set in place by the U.S. Forest Service.

This is an insult to the residents of the Yaak Valley and to all Montanans. It is also in direct violation of federal law.

Please reroute the Pacific Northwest Trail out of Yaak and down along the Kootenai River. Give those last few remaining bears there a chance.

Keith Kratzer

Columbia Falls

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