Protecting The Gallatin Range

Recently, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) sent out an announcement saying that 77% of respondents to a survey supported protecting the Gallatin Range with a variety of new designations from recreation area to wildlife management area.

I have no doubt that most people want to see more protection for the Gallatin Range, but most do not realize that GYC and other groups are promoting less protection than now exists.

Currently, 155,000 acres of the Gallatin Range is within the Congressionally designated Hyalite, Porcupine, Buffalohorn Wilderness Study Area (HPBH WSA). Under the terms of the original legislation, these lands MUST be managed as if they were designated wilderness until such time as Congress determines otherwise.

GYC and the Montana Wilderness Association, The Wilderness Society, Winter Wildlands and others are supporting the Gallatin Forest Partnership (GFP).

What these organizations don’t want you to know is that the GFP proposal would REDUCE the existing wilderness protection in the Gallatin Range from 155,000 acres to 102,000 acres, for a loss of more than 53,000 acres of wilderness status.

Worse for the Gallatin Range, much of the reduction in wilderness will occur in the critically important wildlife area in the Buffalohorn Porcupine drainages adjacent to Yellowstone Park.

Under the terms of the GFP, recreation mechanical access--which may already be too great—can potentially increase in the Buffalohorn-Porcupine drainages.

If you think the Gallatin Range’s wildlife and wildlands are too important to be turned into an outdoor gymnasium, and you support MORE wilderness for the range, please consider joining the Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance.   
George Wuerthner formerly worked for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and was a board member of the Montana Wilderness Association when both were real wilderness advocates. POB 872, Livingston, Montana 59047 541-255-6039