GYC backs conservation wins in locally created forest proposal

A southwest Montana partnership we’ve been working with for two years has done what no other group has been able to do: Create a proposal that foresees protecting Bozeman’s wild backyard for the next 30 years.

 Skiing in Bozeman's wild backyard. You can make your voice heard today, to protect these mountains, our water, and our wildlife. (Photo Louise Johns.)

Skiing in Bozeman's wild backyard. You can make your voice heard today, to protect these mountains, our water, and our wildlife. (Photo Louise Johns.)

This proposal is the best solution for the greatest good in both the Madison and Gallatin ranges. We fully support this proposal. It foresees protections for the Gallatins, which are the last unprotected mountain range next to Yellowstone. It protects our wildlife, our drinking water, and your access to recreation in this very popular place. And it’s a strong placeholder for our wild places until Congress can pass a bill that designates permanent wilderness.

We and our coalition partners in the Gallatin Forest Partnership took the time to build this agreement because we all know that working in coalition and pinning down where we agree is the only way we can get any lasting protections. Finding agreement and building a proposal was hard work. As a group we didn’t agree with each other all the time. But in southwest Montana, as more and more people use the forest in different ways, we have to work with people who have different perspectives in order to find shared solutions—and this once-in-a-generation chance to influence a 30-year forest plan is too important for us to cling to a narrow definition of appropriate conservation measures.

You can help. Let the Forest Service know by March 5 that you support all the good things in the Gallatin Forest Partnership proposal – protecting our wild lands, our drinking water, and our recreation access.

Your voice matters. Thank you for supporting this proposal we helped create. And thank you for supporting us and our work that truly puts the “coalition” in Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

-- Darcie Warden, Montana Conservation Coordinator