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Tree City?

Tree City?


SPECIAL NOTE: The Dornix Park License Agreement will be on the agenda at the next Big Timber City Council Meeting November 7, 7pm at the SGCHS Cafeteria.

Monday evening October 24th 2011 at the Dugout, the Big Timber City Council opened the door for more DNRC rules, more Arbor Day rules and celebrations, more matching funds, and more control over the property of its citizens.  If you can’t have a 20 million dollar park, you lower your ambitions and socialize the trees.  The vote seems to be a small thing, just accepting money and rules from outside.  But Tree City USA is not small.  It is a program of the Arbor Day Foundation  which is a part of the International Sustainable Development (SD)/Smart Growth (SG) movement. Becoming a Tree City USA is one of the many ways the promoters of Sustainable Development/Smart Growth get their foot in the door of local communities like Big Timber. Remember “start small” and local. Smart Growth gets control by implementing rules, restrictions and regulations. This includes laws that regulate urban forest planning such as those encouraged by the Tree City USA designation. Sustainable Development is promoted through public-private partnerships, governments, non-governmental organizations, foundations, non-profits and sustainability grant recipients. The Arbor Day Foundation, which sponsors Tree City USA, partners with The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest conservation Non-Government Organization (NGO). You can read about it by clicking on this link: Nature Conservancy or nature conspiracy?

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is involved with many other programs besides Tree City USA, such as preserving tropical rain forests in South America and planting hardwood trees in the Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. Another one of the Arbor Day Foundation’s partners is the American Planning Association (APA) which teams up directly with ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability). Both The Nature Conservancy and ICLEI are among the most important NGOs at the UN. They both worked to develop Agenda 21 and are now members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United States have designated specific days during the year as Environmental Holidays. One of these days is “Arbor Day”. Celebrating Arbor Day annually is one of the requirements for becoming a Tree City USA. The UNEP has a number of partners in their “billion tree campaign” and although Arbor Day is not mentioned on this page, they partner with The Nature Conservancy in South America and Belize. The international focus of Sustainable Development is the United States. Why? Because the US is the only country in the world based on the ideals of private property. Private property is not compatible with the collectivist premise of  Sustainable Development (SD). Public/private partnerships are the major tool to advance the SD agenda. The bait is grant money given to communities like Big Timber for short term benefits.

Once the agenda gets underway, Smart Growth and Sustainable Development supporters begin to issue rules, regulations, permit requirements, and all types of creeping jurisdiction over land use. The goal is to plan and control the development of human settlements on all levels, from environmental justice, social justice, education and diet to tree trimming. Tree City USA status is just the first seemingly innocent step in that process. The Arbor Day connection to the American Planning Association is important because zoning and subdivision ordinances have the most impact on land development. Smart Growth legislation has elevated comprehensive planning from largely advisory status to the legal basis for local programs or actions affecting land use. The language of these laws is shaping the very nature of urban forests across the country and that language has found its’ way into Big Timber.

Advocates of government planning have visions of a new kind of America. All of these NGOs are interlocked. In some cases, they simply have the same philosophy. In many other instances, they share directors and donors. In one way or another, Yellowstone Business Partnership (YBP) is related to all of the organizations mentioned above. Their intention to develop a regional governance structure is in the process of being advanced and established. Their approach is bound up with a host of appealing phrases like sustainable development, smart growth, etc. YBP knows that designations such as Tree City USA and ordinances such as Complete Streets (in Billings) allow them to receive and distribute grant money. Again, money is the bait.

Earth Day which is one of those on the list of “Environmental Holidays” on the United Nations Environment Programme website along with Arbor Day. Yellowstone Business Partnership celebrates and promotes both. They partnered with The Nature Conservancy in 2005 in order to “assess the prospects for integrating sustainable construction techniques, responsible land development, and resource conservation across the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem”. In other words, to promote SD/SG.

The two dollars a head spent for Big Timber to be a ‘Tree City’ is the first fee the citizens of Big Timber will pay in order to conform to the SD/SG agenda. It will not be the last. Of local interest: Mayor Taylor applied for a $150 grant (w/35% match) from the Arbor Day Foundation in January 2006. In order to fill grant requirements, she made an Arbor Day proclamation in conjunction with receiving the grant. How did she pay for the matching funds? She applied for another $150 in 2007. This was at the same time she was requesting an adjustment in the Hard Rock Mining Board agreement to steer the mine funds to Dornix and soon thereafter received $53,200 from Stillwater Mining.

It was around June, 2008 when Crystal Coffey-Avey and the Horizons “visioning” meeting took place. The Community Garden was one of the results. Through Sweet Grass Health and Wellness, they asked for tax-deductible donations so they could develop the garden and “plant some shrubs and trees for the Arbor Day Opening Celebration”. “We continue to plan to have things up and running in time to celebrate with tree planting on Arbor Day (4/25)” wrote Shirley Layne & Suzanne Drinkard for the Sweet Grass Food Action Group.

In 2010, a member of SGCCI wrote this in a letter to the editor of the Big Timber Pioneer: “Do you know your “urban forest” is going to be “governed” by a formal board? The Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the US Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters sponsor what is called “Tree City USA” memberships. To earn this designation, it is necessary to appoint a tree board, develop a community tree ordinance, and allocate a minimum of $2 per capita (population: 1,740 x $2) to the community forestry program. There are additional requirements to achieve the Tree City certification – the city is required to have a yearly Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation, provide an annual work plan and budget showing the line items for forestry-related expenditures- all requirements to prove we have met performance standards. We are “encouraged to implement tree management programs to improve the urban forestry ecosystem”.

Since the city’s founding in 1883 the citizens of Big Timber have planted, maintained and enjoyed all the beautiful trees currently established in our city without having an outside agency judging and manipulating our behavior. How is it that, since its inception, Big Timber citizens have done so well? Do we really need another board or regulating body telling us what to do with our trees? Do we really need more government oversight? I don’t know about you, but I think we do a fine job with our City’s trees with our current Ordinance without the interference of The Arbor Day Foundation, the US Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.”

In 2011, another resident of Big Timber wrote in a letter to the editor: “Urban Forest my left foot! Big Timber is about as urban as my little cabin in the mountains…Go ahead and count trees, go ahead and plant trees, just quit trying to make it some government program and make others pay for it. We don’t need a Tree Board any more than we need a Grass Board. I plant my own trees, work on my own car and built my own house. If I need help, I’ll ask for it, thanks.”

Big Timber’s charm and comfort depends in part on healthy and plentiful trees. Like most community resources, those trees are dependent on individuals. Since their first sprout, the trees of our city have been the responsibility of Big Timber citizens. There is no need for any agency at any level to usurp that privilege and duty.

13 Responses to “Tree City?”

  1. Maggi Dunakin says:

    Thank you for including me in this post. I have a hard time understanding how a group of people can apparently believe that we have all lost our minds and can’t do anything without help from the government. We must remember that the government is spending OUR money to “help us”, they have no money of their own, it all comes from US. Even without the more sinister purpose lying beneath their actions, their behavior is condescending and insulting. How can anyone sit still and listen to the left? As if the last 50 to 70 years has proven nothing. Our recent history proves that these nanny urges have ruined us. We have created a huge new class of people for whom work is not necessary or desired. How can ANYONE think that this is a good idea? Talk about not sustainable. . .

    • Kevin says:

      Great post Maggi, and a great article. I have felt, since I attended meetings, prior to my taking office and watched this take shape, that it was not good. I appreciate the support and information.

  2. Maggi Dunakin says:

    The liberals will have their tree board, or else (or else what, occupy McLeod Street?) and in a stunning display of spinelessness and complete lack of integrity, Big Timber City Council and Mayor Stephens gave it to them. Big Timber has now invited the federal government to fondle its privates at will. Well, why not? We already get $1.47 back from the feds for every dollar we send them. Why not make it $5? Or $10? After all, as the liberals famously say “the money’s there and if we don’t take it, somebody else will”. Nevermind that we, as a country, are borrowing just to pay the interest on the loans we can’t pay.

    To all you conservatives that stopped me on the street or called me at home over the past year, complimenting me on my words and wisdom: Shame on you. Shame on you for allowing somebody else to carry your load. Shame for not speaking your mind and your truth for all your neighbors to hear. At least now, you can back up into the shadows and not have to claim your own opinion. Maybe nobody noticed that you were cheering me, so you won’t have any explaining to do. Just continue to keep your head down, maybe they will let you use their streets.

    To all you liberals, now is the time to double down. You have pushed and pushed your socialized compassion on us till we can’t breathe. We are laying in the street, choking and unable to draw breath. Quickly, step on our neck. Press home your agenda, sell us completely into slavery. It’s not enough for you to choose slavery, you must drag us all into it with you. Don’t worry any about being kind, it’s not necessary when you employ the feds to do the dirty work. You don’t have to actually care about people, or be nice to your friends and neighbors, you can just fall back on the old “of course I’m compassionate. Didn’t I steal your hard earned money to give to people who don’t feel like working? That’s compassion, baby”.

    To the Economic Development Board, I say good luck. In the prevailing post Diana Taylor atmosphere where the business environment is still hostile, I give you empty store fronts. I will keep my suggestions for businesses to court and how to court them to myself. I cannot, in good conscience, lure business to this area so the liberal vampires can suck the life blood out of them all the while decrying their very ugly selves. They might as well stay where they are and be sucked dry by liberals they already know.

    To the non-profit queens and entitlement groupies: Please put Dornix Park back on the table. I will campaign tirelessly for its establishment. Big Timber is a grand old dame. She deserves to go out with a bang, not crawl across the finish line dirty and torn, dragging entrails and whimpering for mercy.

    Admin note: The founders of SGCCI do not necessarily agree or disagree with any comments made on this blog.

  3. Kevin says:

    I wasn’t quite able to finish my questioning at the meeting, but I find this interesting. The grant, $5,000 plus the city fee, $2.00 per capita, amounts to around $8,000. I was told it costs $80 to $100 per tree and they could likely plant 5-6 next year. I’m not real good at math but what is this grant going to be spent on?

    Admin note: The founders of SGCCI do not necessarily agree or disagree with any comments made on this blog.

  4. Natasha says:

    This is the most salient and direct letter I have ever read. Kudos to the Maggi D. You hit the nails on all of their heads.
    thank you!

  5. Maggi Dunakin says:

    I don’t suppose the party of compassion has applied for any grants to help out the people of Big Timber who are in danger of losing their homes. Or relocation costs after they have been evicted. Their continued begging of federal money (which as you know comes from us) is threatening to cause more of us to lose our homes. Where is this famous compassion now? Trees are more important than people. They want everything free, they want non-profit, they want to take and take and never put anything back in and we’re called hateful? These particular liberals, in Big Timber and Sweet Grass County are the most hate filled, manipulative, un-truth telling group of sub humans I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.

  6. Natasha says:

    I think the “tree police” issue is the same as the Dornix Park issue. But the City Council of Big Timber thinks in dollars and cents. So ….oh no, Big Timber cannot handle $18 million… but we can handle $5,000….. It’s because the City Council doesn’t understand the principle involved. This is the principle: We don’t want the Federal government involved in every aspect our lives and dictating what we can and cannot do. It’s the same thing whether its $18 mil or $5,000. Does the CC of Big Timber stand for principles or dollars??

    Admin note: The founders of SGCCI do not necessarily agree or disagree with any comments made on this blog.

  7. Maggi Dunakin says:

    Please come to city council on Monday, Nov 7th at the Dugout. I have requested 10 minutes on the agenda to address the “tree board”. Also, I discovered that Dornix Park will be on the menu as well. This is why scheduled at the Dugout. I think we need to show up in force.

  8. Sally Cosentino says:

    This City Government just doesn’t get it. They have no idea what is behind a sustainable development, etc. and don’t care to educate themselves. I guess watching TV, chasing women, conversing for hours about ?? is more important than understanding what is behind this socialist movement. Maybe they should not have become city council members if they did not have the time to educate themselves about the issues at hand. It is time for all citizens of Big Timber to stand up and take the time to understand what is happening. You cannot bury your heads forever. If you do, you will end up buried and without hope or freedom. Pay attention and make some effort.

    Admin note: The founders of SGCCI do not necessarily agree or disagree with any comments made on this blog.

  9. Maggi Dunakin says:

    Underlying agenda aside (just for one small second), these “people” want a feed line from the federal government to spend our hard won dollars on FRIPPERY. We are losing our —-, people out of work, losing their homes, unemployed for YEARS at a time and these “persons” actually want to spend money on TREES?

    With 15 TRILLION of debt, where we are borrowing money to pay the interest on the loans we can’t pay back and these bastions of compassion want to COUNT TREES? No, not on my back they will not. I will personally buy a can of spray paint, count and number all the trees on my own time then every body will know exactly what is going on with the darn trees. Then maybe we could spend our money keeping people in their homes and warm this winter.

    Admin note: The founders of SGCCI do not necessarily agree or disagree with any comments made on this blog.

  10. Maggi Dunakin says:

    City Council on November 7th will be at the SGHS cafeteria. 7pm.
    We need conservatives there.

    Admin note: The founders of SGCCI do not necessarily agree or disagree with any comments made on this blog.

  11. Kevin says:

    Well, enough already. For two years I have been fighting against this, talking about it and trying to educate people about it. I dare to say that with the possible exception of Robyn I am more ducated in this than anyone in BT.
    So far what seems to happen is that the liberals sue, tell me I’m a paranoid tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist. The Conservatives stay homw and yawn. OUr Patriot meetings attract about 6 gray hairs each month and we preach to the choir.
    If you go over the votes you will see that Justin and I have voted against this crap 100%, this was probably Randy’s first vote in favor and the mayor generally doesn’t vote. He (mayor) is getting a lot of pressure to have this problem just go away, it won’t.
    This (tree grant) may have been one of the best things to happen, it woke some people up.
    Vote us out, see what you get. Right now you have four men that will stand against it, I’ve spent two years talking and listening to them. If you can do better, throw us out.
    “The penalty for not getting involved in politics is that you are ruled by your inferiors”

    Admin note: The founders of SGCCI do not necessarily agree or disagree with any comments made on this blog.

    • Kevin says:

      I should have signed my last post, obviously I’m not chasing women (tonight) as I have my tinfoil hat firmly strapped to my head as I type and have noticed that women don’t seem to find that particulary attractive.
      Kevin McCauley
      City Councilman
      Ward 1

      Admin note: The founders of SGCCI do not necessarily agree or disagree with any comments made on this blog.

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