Badger Bulletin

Celebrating Some of This Year’s Accomplishments

Badger Bulletin

Celebrating Some of This Year’s Accomplishments

GTMA board waving at the camera

Without a doubt, 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year in many respects. Despite the myriad challenges and necessary adjustments (Zoom anyone?), we stayed focused on our mission to protect the culturally and ecologically irreplaceable Badger-Two Medicine and its interconnected ecosystems. As we happily bid adieu to 2020, here’s nine accomplishments we’re celebrating:

A Strong Final Draft of the Revised Forest Plan

In May, the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest released the final draft of its forthcoming Forest Plan, which will guide management of the entire 2.8-million-acre forest, including the Badger-Two Medicine, for the next 20 – 30 years. While the plan incorporated many of the protections we’d advocated for in earlier drafts, some improvements are needed, such as stronger protections for the integrity of the existing Traditional Cultural District and restrictions on mechanized uses in the Badger-Two Medicine. With your help, we’ve been working through the objections process to strengthen the plan. A final decision is expected in late winter.


The Cancellation of the Last Oil and Gas Lease

In June, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in our favor and upheld the Department of Interior’s 2016 decision to cancel the oil and gas lease held by Solenex, LLC of Louisiana. For the first time in nearly 40 years, the Badger-Two Medicine is free of oil and gas leases. However, it was only a partial victory. The circuit court remanded the case to a lower court to resolve any remaining legal issues. The former-lease holder is moving aggressively to again challenge the cancellation decision in quixotic hope of one day drilling this ecologically and culturally sensitive landscape.

Introduction of the Badger-Two Medicine Protection Act of 2020

In July, Senator Jon Tester introduced the Badger-Two Medicine Protection Act, which would finally protect the cultural and ecological integrity of these national forest lands. The bill would also safeguard public access, secure Blackfeet reserved treaty rights, and ensure the Blackfeet Nation has a meaningful co-stewardship role in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service. The bill garnered strong support from both tribal and conservation organizations and communities. However, it did not receive a hearing and will need to be re-introduced in 2021.

Safe Recreation Opportunities on Public Lands


Public lands like the Badger-Two Medicine and Glacier National Park revealed their importance to community health and well-being throughout this pandemic. For many people, a socially-distanced outing on public lands was one of the few ways to “feel normal” and safely enjoyed time with family or friends, or just get a break from the house. We are grateful we could lead a pair of organized winter outings back “Before Covid” and we look forward to the resumption of organized outings this coming summer!


Good Recommendations from the Governor's Grizzly Bear Advisory Committee

Grizzly sow and cubs standing upIn August, the Governor’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Committee released recommendations to guide future state-management of grizzly bears. We are grateful the committee adopted a number of our recommendations, including a stronger emphasis on managing for genetic and demographic connections between existing grizzly bear populations, promoting coexistence between bears and people, and non-lethal conflict mitigation strategies. The three C’s--Connectivity, Coexistence, Conflict Mitigation—are all critical to the long-term recovery of our official state mammal.

The End of William Perry Pendley's Unlawful Tenure at BLM

Headshot of Perry PendleyFor most of 2020, William Perry Pendley, the former lawyer for Solenex, acted as the de facto head of the Bureau of Land Management in violation of the US Constitution and federal law. Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance joined hundreds of other conservation, tribal

Headshot of Representative Deb Haaland

interest, and social justice organizations across the country calling for his removal due to his abysmal record on public lands and Native American rights. Despite a court order that Pendley to stop acting as

head of the BLM unless confirmed by the Senate, his compliance is unclear. Thankfully his tenure will be over in three weeks. And, in a stroke of poetic justice, repairing the once-proud agency will likely fall to Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), who, if confirmed, will become the first Native American to run the Department of Interior, which houses the BLM.

Dedicated Board Service

5 GTMA members standing by a riverBoards are often the hidden heroes of non-profit organizations. A big shout of gratitude to the incredibly dedicated board members of Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance who collectively contribute so much time, treasure, and energy to this effort. This year the Board worked to update and develop our governing documents and processes, helped organize the “Wish You Were Here” Fall Gathering, advocated tirelessly for permanent protection legislation, led organized outings, helped develop comments on state, Forest Service, and Park Service decision documents, and so much more. And they (mostly) figured out how to Zoom with aplomb. We wouldn’t be where we are without their effort. Thank you.

Our Incredible Community of Supporters

That means you! None of what we do is possible without your involvement. Thank you for all you do: spreading the word, contacting elected officials, writing letters to the editor, attending public meetings, volunteering, and making financial contributions that make so much of what we do possible. Thank you too for all the encouraging words this year; they really help keep us going. You are incredible. We look forward to sharing time with you on a trail, a zoom room, a film festival, a rally, or the Fall Gathering next year.


GTMA board member encouraging masking upOkay, so we obviously had absolutely nothing to do with their development. Still, we are incredibly grateful for them and the promise that the pandemic may be entering its final phase.  We couldn’t be more excited to once again gather responsibly in-person. But until then, stay masked, stay distant (but keep in touch), and stay healthy!

Looking forward to continuing this good work with all of you, the Blackfeet Nation, our conservation partners and many others in the coming year. And with that, we say “Good riddance 2020. Hello 2021. Are we ever glad to welcome you in!”

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