Originally published the Bozeman Chronicle, GYC’s Executive Director Caroline Byrd discussed the important relationship between private and public lands for conservation.
June 6 is a date looming large for those who prize the Gallatin Range. It’s the last day the public can submit comments on how the U.S. Forest Service should manage the Custer Gallatin National Forest, including the Gallatins, for the next 20 to 30 years.
No surprise then that emotions among those with a vested interest in the Gallatins have been running high over the last several weeks. Nothing less than the fate of our beloved backyard mountains – and their wildlife, waters, and recreational opportunities – is at stake.
You have the chance to help determine the future of our wild backyard for the next 30 years.
We are lucky to call the Gallatin and Madison mountains home. They provide abundant wildlife, clean drinking water, and wild trails – but for how much longer? Between skyrocketing populations and a changing landscape, these constants of mountain living are starting to look a lot less certain. Now the Custer Gallatin National Forest’s management plan is up for its once-in-a-generation revision, giving us our chance to secure our mountains’ future.
A bill that will keep gold mining away from some 30,000 acres of our public lands at Yellowstone’s northern gateway has cleared two committee hurdles in both the House and the Senate in the past 10 days. This is great news! The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act is now one step closer to becoming law after these hearings.
Outside a small-town center in rural Montana, a parking lot was full of Subarus and hardy trucks. Around the table inside there were non-profiteers in their Patagonia clothes and ranchers in their cowboy hats and work boots. The folks may look like opposites and drive different cars, but we’re all here for the same reason: to preserve the public lands of the Ruby Valley and support multi-generational working ranches to keep open land open and healthy for the animals.
A Ruby Valley Strategic Alliance (RVSA) meeting recently took place in the small town of Sheridan, Montana, nestled near the Tobacco Root Mountains. The RVSA was formed to achieve long term conservation goals while managing private working ranches to ensure responsible management of public and private lands for future generations. It proves that collaboration is possible among people with different careers and beliefs. Everyone can speak their mind in a respectful manner and we listen and make an effort to understand a different perspective we may not encounter regularly.
UP NEXT: We’ll have a tour of the Ruby Valley in August, visiting the ranches of Rick Sandru, Gary Giem, and Neil Barnosky and inviting members of Montana’s congressional representations and reporters. We’re hoping to highlight the importance of Farm Bill programs, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) technical support, and the connection between private lands and public grazing allotments. Maybe we’ll even show a few folks that it’s possible to effectively collaborate with those that you may not always agree with. Other RSVA activities include treating noxious weeks, restoration efforts on waterways, and the overall sharing of knowledge.
We’re involved because we believe everyone has a voice and that collaboration is the surest way to long lasting conservation. It’s in our best interest to work with landowners by listening to what they want and need and finding compromise.
We’re very proud of our role in the RVSA and couldn’t do it without our partners at the Ruby Valley Stock Association, Helle Livestock, Ruby Dell Ranch, Warm Springs Grazing Association, Ledford Creek Grazing Association, Public Lands Council, Madison County Commission, Montana Land Reliance, Ruby Valley Conservation District and Watershed Council, Ruby Habitat Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society, The Nature Conservancy, Montana Wilderness Association, and Trout Unlimited.
Thank you for supporting our work!
-- Darcie Warden, Montana Conservation Coordinator