GYWA disappointed with new Custer Gallatin Forest Plan, expresses concern over future of forest.

Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance board President Joseph Scalia today expressed severe disappointment with the Custer Gallatin National Forest Plan, released today by the US Forest Service.

“While we are glad to see some Recommended Wilderness in the new plan, the Forest Service has dropped the ball on protecting this imperiled landscape. They only recommend about one hundred twenty six thousand acres of Wilderness out of over eight hundred thousand acres of wild country. Catering to high speed forms of recreation as the Plan does, is a reckless approach to conservation, and invites our wild country becoming as degraded as other parts of the West that have been managed in this way. We are not Colorado, but this Plan is moving us in that direction.”

Out of thirty nine possible wilderness recommendations, the Forest Service chose only seven.

“Some of us have been urging the federal government to do more to protect these lands for at least thirty years. Now we get a few token wilderness areas. The Forest Service wants well over four hundred thousand acres dedicated to high-impact mechanized and motorized recreation.”

Phil Knight, GYWA board member, said “The Bridger Mountains did not get one acre of wilderness. Cowboys Heaven was completely left out. And the Lionhead area, which had 22,000 acres recommended in the 1986 Forest Plan, gets nothing. You mean to tell me every acre of Lionhead is no longer wild? So what happened in the interim? I’ll tell you what happened – the Forest Service failed to protect its own recommended wilderness and left it open to mechanized recreation.”

Nancy Ostlie, also a GYWA board member, was also concerned about the lack of Recommended Wilderness in the new Plan. “The Forest Service won’t even try to protect the Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area in its entirety. The law requires that the WSA lands be managed for inclusion as Wilderness, but they have dropped major portions as sacrifice zones for motorized and mechanized play. 

Knight explained, “This stellar national forest covers much of the northern end of the world-renowned Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Unlike most parts of the world we still have all our native mammals, like grizzlies and wolverines, as well as large herds of elk and mule deer. We may take it for granted but this is some of the best wildlife habitat in the world. That should be the focus of this new plan. Or we risk losing much of the world-class wildlife and wilderness on the Custer Gallatin.”

Message From The President

July 14th, 2020

Since my last President's Message, the threats to the Custer Gallatin National Forest have grown ever more grave, with the Forest Service's recent draft release for its plan to manage our lands for the coming decades. With the Montana Big Greens' compromising and much-publicized recommendations having seemed poised for adoption, the Forest Service has surprised us all with an even more austere plan, notwithstanding its efforts to package it as good stewardship. Instead, it is heavy on favoring industrial incursions into the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.


Compromise after compromise, over decades, has steadily strained the viability of the ecological and aesthetic wonders of our wild lands. We have a wildness here like nowhere else in the western United States. We still have all our pre-1492 fauna, a claim not possible elsewhere. And we have had unparalleled wilderness solitude and magnitude. But all that is changing. If the Forest Service gets its way, and with our continually increasing human population here, our wildlife will continue to dwindle as it has everywhere else, and our wildlands will be overrun with more and more mountain biking, motorized recreation, and extractive industrial activity.


Most people here don't understand all of this. The bill of goods sold by old and once venerable Montana environmental groups, now become moribund, has misled the general public who thinks they're looking after our conservation interests.  Help us keep Montana TRULY wild and not be just a bumper sticker! 

Joseph Scalia III

President/Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance


About Us...

The Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance (GYWA) is a non-profit grassroots wilderness organization based in Bozeman, Montana. We formed in early 2019, at a time when our very planet and humanity itself are terribly imperiled, and too many conservation groups keep carving up the landscape, and calling it a victory. We aim to rally public support around the proposal to protect the remaining 700,000 acres of roadless lands on the Custer Gallatin National Forest north of Yellowstone National Park as Wilderness. These vital wildlands contain world-class wildlife habitat and critical landscape linking the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to other large ecosystems to the north, creating connectivity crucial to the preservation of both the region's and the Earth's threatened biodiversity. Because these dangers have been kept from public awareness, we aim to respectfully open up a needed, hard conversation. 

Recent Articles & Publications

October 24th- George Wuerthner, Historical Lessons of Successful Conservation Movements, The Wildlife News

October 13th- George Wuerthner, Shilling for the Livestock Industry in Greater Yellowstone, Counterpunch

October 7th- Phil Knight, Pondering Megafauna From Here To Africa And Back, Mountain Journal

August 30th - Joe Scalia, The Passing of the Wild Gallatins, Missoulian

August 25th - Michael Ferrentino, Why Wilderness Matters More Than Your Desire To Take It, Mountain Journal

August 24th - George Wuerthner, Lessons From The Effort To Designate The Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, The Wildlife News

August 21st - Joseph Scalia III, Return to Leopold: Dare We Speak Up for Yellowstone?, Counterpunch

August 18th - Mike Bader, Industrial Recreation is Not Conservation, Counterpunch

August 13th - Joseph Scalia III, Yellowstone Imperiled by Compromise, Counterpunch

August 7th - Laura Lundquist, Lawsuit Says Flathead NF Plan Doesn’t Protect Threatened Species, Missoula Current

July 10th - George Wuerthner, Custer Gallatin Forest Plan Limits Wilderness For Gallatin Range, The Wildlife News

August 6th - George Wuerthner, Trouble in Paradise Valley, Counterpunch

July 3rd - K Stevenson, K Hundley, C Marchion, How Deep is Daines' Public-Land support?, Billings Gazette

July 3rd - Tamie Parker, Daines Hypocritical When it Comes to Our Wilderness, Bozeman Daily Chronicle

June 23rd- Phil Knight, Our Public Lands Need to be Protected, Not Plundered, Bozeman Daily Chronicle

June 18th- George Wuerthner, Fire Scar Historical Reconstructions: Accurate or Flawed?, Counterpunch

June 18th- George Wuerthner, Wilderness and Cows, The Wildlife News

Watch Our Promotional Video

Save the Wild Gallatins! - Wilderness Podcast

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© 2020 Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance

P.O. Box 5256

Bozeman, Montana 59717

501(c)(3) non-profit organization.