Motorized use, such as ATV's, snowmobiles and dirt bikes, disturb the wildlife and destroy the landscape.
The Badger-Two Medicine is prime denning territory for both Grizzly and Black Bears and snowmobiles greatly harm their hibernation cycle. On January 20, 2011, US District Judge Sam Haddon upheld a Forest Service Travel Plan decision protecting the Badger-Two Medicine for traditional, non-motorized recreation.
The Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance intervened on behalf of the Lewis and Clark National Forest in a suit brought by motorized groups hoping to overturn the travel plan. The motorized-users’ arguments were all rejected by Judge Haddon.
“The decision feels like hope,” Kendall Flint, a physician from East Glacier who lives in the Badger-Two Medicine Area, said of Judge Haddon’s ruling in an interview reported in the Great Falls Tribune. “Every year, our ability to find a stretch of quiet wild country to explore, to share with our kids and our friends, and in which to be refreshed, seems to shrink. Most often we feel helpless and just watch it go away. That belt of development, roads, and internal combustion tightens around our remaining wilderness, until it feels hard to breath. This decision gives me hope that, just maybe, my daughter’s and my son’s kids might still be able to find that stretch of quiet wild country.”
The ruling was notably in line with public opinion: The travel plan decision was based on years of extensive public comment. About 35,000 people submitted comments during the Forest Service’s public comment phase. A vast majority of the comments called for restricting motorized use, according to the Forest Service.
The Ruling was also noted to be consistent with Blackfeet Tribe: The tribe has consistently and officially opposed actions in the Badger Two-Medicine that would disturb the pristine quality and religious nature of the area to the Blackfeet People. They have twice passed Tribal Resolutions urging the Forest Service to limit motorized use. In 2009 the Blackfeet Tribal Historic Preservation Society went on record supporting the travel plan.
The 2009 travel plan has been vigorously implemented by the Lewis and Clark National Forest. We are already reaping rewards for the landscape, as the Badger-Two Medicine heals the scars from early ATV and motorbike trespass.
Unfortunately, some do not respect the integrity of this ecosystem and disregard these regulations meant to protect it. These photos are evidence of the damaged caused by ATV's.