The Custer Gallatin National Forest (CGNF) is currently accepting comments until March 5th on the Proposed Action of the Revised Forest Plan. Now is your chance to let the Forest Service know what you want for our our public lands in SW Montana.
See below for where you can send comments.
PCEC works to safeguard wildlands and wildlife habitat from fragmentation and development. We work to protect public lands because an intact northern Yellowstone ecosystem provides clean cold water at our headwater streams and protects wildlife habitat and corridors. With the increasing stressors of development, population growth and climate change placing more and more demands on our public lands and wildlife, maintaining the ecological integrity of the Custer Gallatin National Forest is more important than ever.
We have an opportunity to fortify the resiliency of the Yellowstone ecosystem with the creation of a wilderness area in the Gallatin Range, something that’s been proposed since 1977. Wilderness is the only stalwart protection our wildlands have in the face of development and overuse.
The current CGNF Gallatin Crest Wilderness recommendation of 70,614 acres is woefully inadequate. PCEC recommends, at a minimum, that the existing Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area (HPBH) officially receive wilderness designation. We additionally advocate that the boundaries of the 155,000 acre HPBH be expanded upon with its neighboring designated roadless areas to create a robust wilderness area befitting the Gallatin Range. This proposal, combined with the Sawtooth Mountain Recommended Wilderness Area will create a robust wilderness to the west of the Yellowstone River to match the grandeur of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness to the east, signaling an enduring responsibility to protect the wildlands and wildlife north of Yellowstone National Park.
The Forest Service is not proposing any significant change in the management of the Crazy Mountains. Considering all the issues and conflicts that have been transpiring in our beloved Crazy Mountains, this is a missed opportunity. Checkerboard land ownership in the Crazy Mountains create problems for users and wildlife. The USFS should work to consolidate USFS land in the Crazy Mountains and ensure access to those public lands for hunting and recreation. Additionally, the USFS should create new wilderness protections for undisturbed portions of the designated roadless areas in the Crazy Mountains.
The Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness is one of Park County’s greatest assets, something we highly value and treasure. While the additions to the AB Wilderness recommended by the Forest Service are not located in Park County, we commend efforts to build upon the Wilderness. In Park County the AB Wilderness is buffered by designated roadless areas that stave off encroachment and development adjacent to the Wilderness. Those areas must continue to benefit from that designation, and are well-suited for expansion of the current wilderness boundaries.
Wilderness protects our clean, cold water, elk herds, mule deer, grizzly bears, wolverines, birds, forests and landscape. It also provides refuge for people: a place free from light and noise pollution. Wilderness is a place of solitude in an ever increasing world filled with commotion and distraction. Much of greater Montana provided that respite only a generation ago, when wilderness in the Gallatin Range was first proposed, but with the discovery of the “Last Best Place” we too face the all to common commotion of the 21st Century in our wild backyard. It’s our responsibility to protect this special place before it’s too late — our children will thank us.
You can download review the the Forest Plan HERE.
The CGNF requests comments submitted electronically HERE.
Or comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Comment – draft plan – CGNF”
Or mailed the old fashioned way to: Custer Gallatin National Forest, Attn: Forest Plan Revision Team, P.O. Box 130, Bozeman, MT 59771