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Pine Creek Lake. Photo by Walker Stole
Feb 23 2016

Wilderness Worthy

Speak up for special places in the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest

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.

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

The Forest Service is writing a plan that will determine the future of Montana’s most geographically diverse national forest – the newly combined, 2.8-million-acre Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. Your input will help shape that plan, a blueprint that will guide management of the HLC Forest for decades.

The Forest Service is now accepting comments from the public on which areas it ought to evaluate as potential recommended wilderness.

The Forest Service has also scheduled another round of community workshops (see the schedule below), this round focusing on the recently compiled wilderness inventory. The Forest Service will also gather input from the public regarding areas the public feels should be managed for certain values, such as wilderness, wildlife, history, and culture. Because the workshops 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 areas that MWA is urging the US Forest Service to protect in the new Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest plan.

We're asking the Forest Service to recommend wilderness designation in these area in the Island Ranges: 

  • 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)
  • Smith River Wildlands (Tenderfoot-Deep Creek)

We're asking the Forest Service to recommend wilderness designation in these areas along the Continental Divide.

  • Nevada Mountain (56,000 acres)
  • Scapegoat Wilderness Additions (50,000 acres)
  • Electric Peak (20,000 acres)
  • Black Mountain (11,000 acres)

We're also asking for the Forest Service to protect the wilderness, wildlife, historic, and cultural values in these special areas:

  • Continental Divide Trail Corridor
  • Alice Creek National Historic Landscape
  • Badger-Two Medicine Traditional Cultural Landscape

Here's the schedule of community workshops:

Townsend: Feb. 29, 9 a.m - noon at the Townsend Library
White Sulphur Springs: Feb. 29, 5 - 8 p.m. at White Sulphur Springs High School library
Harlowton: March 1, 9 a.m. - noon at Harlowtown Library
Stanford: March 1, 5 - 8 p.m. at Stanford City Hall
Great Falls: March 2, 5 - 8 p.m. at Great Falls Civic Center, Gibson Room
Choteau: March 3, 9 a.m. - noon at Stage Stop Inn
Browning: March 3, 5 - 8 p.m. at Browning High School cafeteria
Lincoln: March 4, 1 - 4 p.m. at Lincoln Community Center
Helena: March 7, 5 - 8 p.m. at Jorgenson's Inn and Suites

For more information on the forest plan and MWA’s priorities in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, please contact me at (406) 466-2600 or at cperkins@wildmontana.org. And don't forget to send the Forest Service your comments about the places you love in the HLC and why it should recommend wilderness for those places.

- Casey Perkins, MWA Rocky Mountain Front field director