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Pine Creek Lake. Photo by Walker Stole
Oct 28 2015

Keep It Wild in the Island Ranges and on the Divide

Help make future of Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest a wild one

Alerts, Featured

Imagine a national forest plan encompassing a dozen wild ranges of the Rockies that fully recognizes the priceless values of wild nature to people present and future. Imagine a forest plan that doubles the number of people working to care for and restore our trails, forests, waters, and wildlife.

Here is your chance to help make this plan a reality.

U.S. Forest Service officials have scheduled a series of collaborative community meetings (schedule below) to help draft a plan for the future of Montana’s most geographically diverse national forest – the newly combined 2.8-million acre Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. Meetings will shape the first Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Plan, a long-term blueprint to guide management of the forest.

Forest community meetings will focus on identifying “desired future conditions” – future goals that the new plan will aim to achieve.

Because the meetings are collaborative, it’s vital that you show up to clearly and respectfully voice support for protecting future wilderness, clean water, wildlife, and quiet trails across this vast public forest.

Here are some important goals that MWA urges you to recommend as “desired future conditions” for the future Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest:

Island Ranges

Recommended Wilderness designation, including:

  • The Big Snowies and Middle Fork Judith Wilderness Study Areas
  • Camas Creek (30,000 acres) and Mount Edith-Baldy (18,000 acres) areas in the South Big Belts
  • North Crazy Mountains (60,000 acres)
  • The wild Elkhorns (75,000 acres)
Continental Divide

Protection of wilderness character and values in large wild areas along the Continental Divide Trail corridor, including:

  • Nevada Mountain (56,000 acres)
  • Scapegoat Wilderness Additions (50,000 acres)
  • Electric Peak Recommended Wilderness (20,000 acres)
Special Landscapes

Wilderness, wildlife, historic and cultural values should be protected by the new plan in four special landscapes:

  • Continental Divide Trail Corridor
  • Alice Creek National Historic Landscape
  • Badger-Two Medicine Traditional Cultural Landscape
  • Smith River Wildlands (Tenderfoot-Deep Creek)
Expansion of Forest Stewardship

New research shows that quiet forests and nature provide immense health and wellness benefits to people from all walks of life. The plan should recognize this by (a) protecting wild nature and (b) expanding partnerships to put more people (students, veterans, seniors, loggers, and others) to work restoring trails, streams, forests, and wildlands.

Here is the schedule of collaborative community meetings.

Lincoln: Nov. 2, 5 - 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Community Center
Stanford: Nov. 3, 5 - 8 p.m. at the Stanford City Hall
Great Falls: Nov. 4, 5 - 8 p.m. at C.M. Russell High School cafeteria
Browning: Nov. 5, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.at Blackfeet Community College, Red Fox 102
Choteau: Nov. 5, 5 - 8 p.m. at Stage Stop Inn
Augusta: Nov. 6, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Augusta Youth Center
Townsend: Nov. 17, 5 – 8 p.m. at Townsend Library
White Sulphur Springs: Nov. 18, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at WSS Community Training Center
Harlowton: Nov. 18, 5 - 8 p.m. at Harlowton Library
Helena: Nov. 19, 5 - 8 p.m. at MACO conference room

Donate now to help us keep the Island Ranges and the Continental Divide wild!

- John Gatchell, MWA federal lands policy director