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Future of our National Forest: Public Comment Open!
April 22 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Now is the time for us to help guide the future of our local forests and public lands.
Last week the Custer Gallatin National Forest released its Draft Revised Land Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which also opens a 90-day public comment period, ending on June 5, 2019.
The last management plan was put into place in 1987. Much has changed since then, like the Gallatin National Forest consolidating with the Custer National Forest, regional population growth and development, forest condition and health, wildlife policies, recreational interests and resource use. Yet, one thing has remained unchanged in the 32 years since the last plan: no new wilderness designations.
The greater Yellowstone ecosystem is home to some of the best, most diverse and intact wildlands in the lower 48: it still is home to all the major species of mammals that were present on this continent prior to the arrival of europeans, having long provided refuge for elk, bison, wolverine and grizzly (and room for the return of the wolf); its wildlife migration corridors are greater and more extensive than anywhere else. All of this possible because it contains habitat that is largely unfragmented and still intact in the 21st century.
Outside of Yellowstone National Park, wilderness is the greatest means of protecting the habitat and wildlands so crucial to preserving the uniqueness and diversity of wildlife in the Yellowstone region, and the Gallatin Range is the most deserving of wilderness designation. Since 1978 a wilderness area has been proposed in the Gallatin's, and the reality is long overdue.
There are currently five alternatives proposed for the revised Plan by the Forest Service. PCEC fully supports Alternative D, which designates an appropriate percentage of forest as wilderness, not only in the Gallatin Range, but in other regions of the Custer Gallatin. If we want to ensure that the greater Yellowstone continues to maintain its vital importance for wildlife, intact habitat and ecological diversity for generations to come, as well as our reverence for wild places, we must encourage the Forest Service to enact a management plan that can provide for that reality.
We are currently sifting through the 1,000's of pages in the Plan and DEIS. We will continue to keep you and our members informed, and help with the comment process in the coming weeks and months.
If you would like to review the Plan and DEIS you can find it HERE. If you would like to go ahead and make a comment you can do so HERE.
The Forest Service will be holding a public meeting on April 22, in Livingston, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Yellowstone Pioneer Lodge (1515 W. Park Street, Livingston, MT)