‘Conservation’ groups promote recreation rather than wilderness protection

The Custer Gallatin NF plan that so-called big green groups are promoting reduces wilderness protection for the Gallatin Range. The wilderness recommended by the forest plan consists of high alpine terrain while favoring less protection for the best wildlife habitat at lower elevations. Photo George Würthner

The following link to an editorial from Winter Wildlands appeared in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. It celebrates the recently released Custer Gallatin National Forest Plan, which reduces wilderness protections on the forest, but is being acclaimed by Montana’s “big green groups.”

Emigrant Peak, part of the proposed Emigrant-Dome Mountain addition to Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, is a portion of the 1.1 million acres of roadless land on the CGNF that qualify for wilderness areas have no obtained from wilderness recommended in the CGNF plan. Photo George Würthner

The recreation-promoting crowd in Bozeman (GYC, Wild Montana, TWS) posing as conservationists all applaud the CGNF designations.

All of these organizations are excited about the new Custer Gallatin NF plan. The CGNF plan calls for a measly 140,000 acres of recommended wilderness out of 1.1 million potential roadless lands that could qualify as wilderness. See the map of potential wilderness areas at this link. https://www.gallatinyellowstonewilderness.org/

The Buffalo Horn watershed contains some of the best wildlife habitat in the Gallatin Range, but the forest plan recommends a “backcountry” statue, which is an administrative designation that offers less protection than wilderness. Photo George Würthner

There is nothing in this editorial about protecting the wild land and wildlife habitat values ​​of the CGNF. These groups celebrate THE LOSS of the desert and are guilty of its disappearance. Note that the forest plan they applaud reduces the S.393 Buffalo Horn Porcupine Hyalite Wilderness Study Area from 151,000 acres to 78,000 acres and the loss of wilderness recommended by the latest forest plan for the Lionhead area by West Yellowstone. And that’s something that these bands applaud?

The lower elevation portion of the South Cottonwood drainage is recommended as “backcountry” instead of the more protective wilderness status. Photo George Würthner

There’s nothing in there about human impacts on wildlife. That’s how great it is that “everyone” can play.

I’m not against enjoying the natural world, but wilderness is the “golden rule” for protecting wildlife and wild land values. The CGNF’s “recommended” wilderness is mostly rock and ice-covered alpine terrain, and the “other” designations it applauds allow for more human intrusions and potential manipulation (logging) in the best habitats. wildlife.

Hyalite Lake, part of the Buffalo Horn Porcupine Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area. Photo George Würthner

If you look at the various Gallatin Range designations, the majority of the “recommended” wilderness is high, steep alpine/subalpine terrain. I love this kind of country.

The CGNF plan recommends less than 10,000 acres for wilderness consisting of high mountain terrain, while it proposes 30,000 acres for backcountry. Photo George Würthner

However, nearly all of the lower elevation valleys that contain the best wildlife habitat are under less protective backcountry and recreation designations—two administrative designations that lack the legal designation that accompanies wilderness. The same less protective designations are recommended for major parts of the Crazy Mountains, Pryor Mountains and Lionhead.

Pryor Mountains near Billings, Montana. Photo George Würthner

And the CGNF plan has nothing for large chunks of roadless land adjacent to the AB Wilderness like the Deer Creeks, Emigrant to Dome Mountain, Line Creek Plateau, Rock Creek and other lands bordering Lee Metcalf Wilderness such as the upper Taylor Fork area which should be added to the existing wilderness.

Hebgen Lake in the Lionhead area, which was a recommended wilderness in the 1987 Forest Plan, is now downgraded to ‘backcountry’ status. Photo George Würthner

I remember the day when groups like GYC and Wild Montana (aka Wild Montana) advocated wild designation of low-lying areas to protect wildlife. Cumulative impacts were the concern. It doesn’t seem to be on the radar screen of today’s professional “conservatives” who seem more interested in preserving their recreation than other values.

Almost all of the logging that occurs on the CGNF is renowned for “fuel reduction” and “forest health”. Backcountry and recreation designations will allow for such logging Photo George Wuerthner

“Note the sleight of hand in this editorial. The author says the “backcountry” designation will not allow commercial logging in places like the Buffalohorn Porcupine region and the South Cottonwood region of the Gallatin Ranges, which are designated as backcountry instead of wilderness. wild recommended in the CGNF plan. It’s wrong.

An example of “vegetation management” on the CGNF or what used to be called logging. Photo George Würthner

The Forest Plan says: “Hinterland areas are not suitable for timber production. Vegetation management, including timber harvesting, is suitable for purposes such as fuel reduction, wildlife habitat restoration or enhancement.

Crazy Mountains near Livingston. The CGNF has recommended less than 10,000 acres for wilderness in this spectacular mountain range. Photo George Wuerthner

Thus, logging will not be carried out for so-called “timber production”, but commercial timber sales will still take place in hinterland areas under the euphemism of “vegetation management”. . Almost all of the commercial logging done on the CGNF is for fuel reduction or forest health, not timber production. Logging in backcountry areas will still be commercial, meaning trees are cut by private logging companies and transported out of the forest on new logging roads to a sawmill.

These groups are part of the Forest Service’s shameless propaganda machine.

The Madison chain Taylor fork that the CGNF did not recommend as an add-on to the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Photo George Würthner

The highest values ​​of the CGNF are the three Ws: its values ​​for wildlife, water head, and wild land. These values ​​have been hijacked from the forest plan that green groups celebrate.

Printable, PDF and email versionprintable version

About Julius Southworth

Check Also

Jeffrey Goldberg: Against Labels – The Atlantic

Dear reader, Sometimes I write to you about the sorry state of our democracy, other …