Whitefish Range

(MWA photo)

Charting a Secure Future amid a Growing Population

A community comes together to protect the range's wild core

Adjacent to Glacier National Park, the Whitefish Range provides refuge for a remarkable community of life in the transboundary region of the Crown of the Continent. The clean, clear waters of the Whitefish Range flow to the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Flathead River and contribute to the exceptional Flathead watershed. Supporting the highest density of grizzly bears in the Lower 48, as well as wolverines, lynx, bull trout, and westslope cutthroat trout, the area also boasts a unique habitat for subalpine larch, subalpine fir and genetically superior Whitebark Pine trees. In short, the Whitefish Range is remarkable.

The Whitefish Range is a backyard for the growing communities of Columbia Falls and Whitefish, drawing residents and a large number of tourists who come to hike, hunt, fish, mountain bike, and ski.

What’s at Stake

For decades, citizen advocates and members of Montana's Congressional delegation have supported wilderness protection for the Whitefish Range. Since 1925, when MWA co-founder Winton Weydemeyer first advocated for a 485,000-acre wilderness area that included land in the Kootenai and Flathead National Forests, roads have been built, lands fractured, and new uses established. Today, we work to protect the last remaining wild core in the Whitefish Range.

Positive Results, Forward Movement

As members of the Whitefish Range Partnership, MWA has worked with more than 30 diverse individuals to tackle their interests, concerns, and needs regarding public lands of the Whitefish Range. After working together for a little more than a year, we reached full consensus on a package of recommendations that we presented to the Flathead National Forest for inclusion in its new forest plan. So far, this has resulted in 80,000-acres of new recommended wilderness in the draft forest plan. We’re continuing to work with partners to include the agreement in the final forest plan and build positive momentum for future legislation.

To learn more about the Whitefish Range Partnership, watch a five-minute clip produced for This American LandFor more information or to get involved, contact MWA's Northwest Montana Field Director Amy Robinson at arobinson@wildmontana.org.