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Seldom-seen Senator Daines ducked into the debate about bike use in Bitterroot Wilderness Study Areas again, of course at a safe distance from his constituents, with a last-minute letter from Washington D.C. With his letter, delivered a few days before the scheduled Bitterroot NF Travel Plan Objection response is to be made, he wants to further delay and obstruct an open public process that has taken over a decade.

He says the delay is needed to consider facts he has gathered. Where has he been for the last ten years with his facts? Maybe his alternative facts took a while to manufacture. Maybe the view from his high perch in D.C. looks different from the one out here in the Bitterroot.

The decade leading up to the imminent Forest Service decision has been used for analyzing actual facts, gathering public comments during several public comment periods lasting months and finally capped off by a lawsuit brought by mountain bikers in 2017. After all this deliberation by the Forest Service, the public at large and the courts Senator Daines sends a two-page letter to obstruct the final decision. If that is his version of democratic process we don’t need him representing Montana. It’s time to reel him in out of the swamp; he needs some fresh air.

— Larry Campbell, Darby

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