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Home Wild Word The Future of Wildlands in Helena-Lewis & Clark Forest is in Your Hands
Pine Creek Lake. Photo by Walker Stole
Feb 27 2017

The Future of Wildlands in Helena-Lewis & Clark Forest is in Your Hands

The Forest Service is now taking comments on how public lands around Helena and Great Falls will be managed for decades to come

Announcements, Featured

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest (HLCNF) belongs to every American, and every one of us has an opportunity to shape its future. Whether you live in Lincoln, Lewistown, Bozeman, Billings, or Baltimore, you can make your voice heard on behalf of the wildlands in this forest. It doesn’t matter if you spend every weekend hiking in the Highwoods or have never even heard of the Big Snowies, we need you to raise your voice for the wild places in the HLCNF. There’s so much at stake. 

The deadline for comments is March 31, 2017.

The new forest plan for the 2.8 million-acre forest will guide how these public lands will be managed for decades. From the Badger-Two Medicine to the Big Belts, the HLCNF contains nearly 1.5 million acres of roadless country – an area larger than some states back east. More importantly, these areas provide drinking water for downstream communities, vital habitat for big game, and world-class recreation opportunities. 

The HLCNF recently released a draft of the forest plan.

Read more about the draft plan and our response to it. For even more information, read this document.

In the draft, the HLCNF has proposed to protect many of the areas we think deserve it, but there the forest still has some work to do. Your support for the following proposals will help ensure that the final plan offers protection for some of central Montana’s wildest places. 

Please tell the Forest Service that you support:

  • Recommended Wilderness for the Big Snowies Wilderness Study Area and adjoining roadless areas
  • Recommended Wilderness for the Nevada Mountain area on the Continental Divide between Lincoln and Helena
  • Recommended Wilderness for the Deep Creek area in the Smith River corridor
  • “Primitive” recreation designation for the Middle Fork of the Judith Wilderness Study Area.

While the draft plan is a good start, we are also asking the Forest Service to make some improvements. Please ask the Forest Service to consider:

  • Recommended Wilderness for Camas Creek in the Big Belts
  • “Primitive” recreation designation for non-motorized areas in Tenderfoot Creek in the Smith River Corridor
  • Stronger protections for the Elkhorns Wildlife Management Unit
  • “Primitive” recreation designation for roadless areas in the Highwoods

Keep in mind that the best comments are personal and as specific as possible. Please strive to offer a sound rationale for what you are asking for. Remember to include experiences you have had in the HLCNF and any particular values you hold dear, such as wildlife, solitude, or recreational opportunities.

We all have our own reasons why wild places are important to us – and this is what the Forest Service needs to hear now. 

Each of your comments is critical. That’s why we will assemble and hand-deliver all of them on your behalf to the Forest Service.

Write your comments now.

For more information about our recommendations or anything else involving the HLCNF plan, please contact Casey Perkins at 406-544-1093 or at cperkins@wildmontana.org.

- Casey Perkins, MWA Rocky Mountain Front field director