A Plan for a Bright and Shining Future

In order to maintain the biological integrity of the wild northern Gallatin Range, and to maintain its critical role in the health of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, we propose the following Gallatin Range Wilderness and Wildlife Conservation Area package:

  1. A 546,000 acre Gallatin Range Wilderness in the Gallatin National Forest and Yellowstone National Park, to be managed under provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964.
  2. A Gallatin Range Wildlife Conservation Area (WCA) to be managed primarily for native wildlife species and natural ecosystem processes:
    • No motorized vehicles off National Forest system roads

    • No new roads

    • A mandated Forest Service study to assess road removal/re-wilding potential

    • No large-scale commercial logging; small-scale fuel-reduction and similar projects for local use only

    • No logging of any kind in roadless areas of 1,000 acres or larger.

  3. Creation of a permanent fund to assist landowners with property adjacent to or within one mile of the Wilderness or WCA, in creating conservation easements for their property.
  4. Full recontoring and reclamation of the illegally built Rock Creek road extension, including restoration of native ground cover, and trees at least as large as those that are now growing on the roadbed. Reclamation and re-seeding of illegal user-created vehicle trails in places such as upper Rock Creek, Shoefelt Gulch (in Bear Canyon), Swan Creek, and along the Hidden Lakes/Porcupine divide (trail #66).
  5. For the 325,000 acre southern Gallatin backcountry within Yellowstone National Park (and for the rest of Yellowstone's backcountry), we believe that Wilderness designation is essential. Indeed, National Park Service personnel view the park backcountry as "de-facto Wilderness". In the southern Gallatins, we also propose the immediate removal of the power line corridor that fragments vital habitat through the eastern fringe of the Gallatins above Mammoth Hot Springs and south through otherwise wild backcountry in and adjacent to Gardiner's Hole.