Wild Life - December 2014

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Dusty Crary, with U.S. Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh, taking in a view of the Rocky Mountain Front from the Crary Ranch west of Choteau, MT. Photo: Gabriel Furshong.

Dusty Crary stood in the middle of a cow pasture on his ranch west of Choteau, a silk handkerchief tucked into the collar of his down jacket to hold off the chilly winds blowing along the Rocky Mountain Front. He faced a clutch of reporters who huddled with about 30 other Montanans.

Looking south from the summit of Ear Mountain just after sunrise. Photo by Ralph Thornton

In the summer of 1977, a group of people living along the Rocky Mountain Front learned in an outfitters meeting that the U.S. Forest Service planned on issuing leases for oil and gas development up and down the Rocky Mountain Front.

Castle Reef and the Front at dawn. Photo by Dee Linnell Blank

For the first time in 31 years, Congress today designated new wilderness in Montana by passing the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act.

Sawtooth Ridge on the Rocky Mountain Front. Photo by Jeff Van Tine

A 31-year wilderness designation drought in Montana may finally be at an end. Included in the National Defense Authorization Act now before Congress, the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act is on the verge of becoming law.