We Work to Ensure Good Forest Plans

Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest Plan Revision

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest is revising its forest plan. The forest currently operates under two management plans (one for the former Helena National Forest, one for the former Lewis and Clark National Forest), both of which were completed in 1986 and are sorely outdated. The new plan will guide how the Forest Service manages the entire 2.85 million acre forest for the next two to three decades, a forest that stretches from the Crazy Mountains in the east, to the Blackfoot watershed in the west, and north all the way to the Badger-Two Medicine. This includes management of campgrounds, backcountry recreation, wildlife habitat, rivers and streams, vegetation treatments, mineral extraction, cultural resources.

A good plan is thus essential to effective management and long-term conservation of the Badger-Two Medicine as well as the rest of the forest. Working through the public process, GTMA successfully ensured the HLCNF designated the Badger as a special emphasis area, which provides more site-specific attention in the planning process than it would otherwise receive. More information on the planning process can be found on the HLCNF website

The Draft Plan, and Draft Environmental Impact Statement which accompanies it, were released on June 8, 2018. While GTMA thought it was a good start, we believed the Forest could do more to ensure that the ecological and cultural resources of the Badger were adequately protected. In particular, GTMA pushed to see the Badger managed in manner that protects the wilderness-ecological values that currently characterize the area, as well as the values and attributes for which it was determined eligible to be a Traditional Cultural District. Furthermore, GTMA wants the Badger to provide a high-quality primitive recreation experience for foot or horse travelers. Our full comments can be found here.

Thank you to all our members and supporters who took time to comment. Although not always the most glamorous, forest planning is where citizens like us can make a huge difference for the Badger, wildlife and other wildlands for years to come. The Final Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement are expected in fall 2019. Until then, GTMA will continue to be engaged in the process and keep you informed about how you can participate in this process.

New Flathead National Forest Plan Released!

The Flathead National Forest released its revised forest plan in January 2019. The much anticipated plan included some good news for the Badger! The Flathead National Forest recommended 12,393 acres of the Slippery Bill-Puzzle area for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Slippery Bill-Puzzle area abuts the southwestern boundary of the Badger and connects the Badger with the Great Bear Wilderness. This recommendation furthers our efforts to end illegal snow mobile incursions from the Skyland area into the Badger and will generally help maintain the integrity of the Badger’s wild lands.