Message from the President
April 18, 2021
As the months progress and we await the Final Forest Plan of the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, we want to alert all citizens who love The Last Best Place.
The Forest Service is poised to recommend for Wilderness legislation only about one-fifth of the Forest's ecosystem-vital and Wilderness-quality lands.
And venerable conservation organizations, Montana Wilderness Association (MWA), of which I am proud to be a former President, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC), and The Wilderness Society (TWS) have all partnered with "recreationists" to remove from Wilderness Study Area status the most important lands of the Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn WSA, and to cede them to motorbike, snowmobile, and mountain bike usage.
There has been a now decade-plus push among mainstream environmental groups around the country to practice their advocacy in exactly this way. They collaborate with various segments of a local or regional community, and they make land use compromises that all its partners can live with. The problem with this effort is that many groups are excluded from these partnerships, which are presented to their communities and politicians as though they are inclusive, and as though they represent a heartwarming event of historically antagonistic groups finding ways to harmoniously live together. But it is really only "as though," since serious disagreement and tension remain.
We highly value much of what all these groups have done over the years to protect our wild places. And what they are still doing on some fronts!
But we respectfully implore their members, donors, staff and Board members to seriously consider the following. Earth is on a precipice. We are losing species at a frightening rate around the world. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, its 22 million acres in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, is a bastion of conservation, still containing all of its pre-1492 wildlife!! This is an amazing feat and is a huge part of why we are all here!
If the Partnership accomplishes it aim, though, a new mountain biking and motorized recreation mecca will be born, very quickly, in Big Sky, Montana. Just a bicycle ride away from Big Sky's restaurants and hotels is the trailhead of Porcupine Creek, with the Buffalo Horn a gentle ridgeline away to the south. These lower-elevation valleys, interspersed with forest and vast meadowlands, are home to one of Yellowstone's major elk herds; they are its wintering and birthing grounds. If the PBH loses its protections, that elk herd will be displaced, lost, with nowhere to move. It will be lost, much like Vail, Colorado famously and tragically lost its iconic elk herd due to human excesses.
The Yellowstone grizzly uses these valleys as a crucial migration corridor in order to maintain species genetic integrity by reaching beyond GYE's 700-bear population to the grizzly populations to the north. The Yellowstone wolf, the imminently endangered and human-averse wolverine both also call these places home. A recreation mecca here would displace these animals, too.
The Gallatin Range just to the south of Bozeman and Livingston, and especially its Porcupine and Buffalo Horn drainages, crucially need Wilderness designation as part of our sustaining what is still wild in Southwest Montana, Wilderness as part of what will keep this our Last Best Place.
MWA, GYC, and TWS believe they are doing the best they can. They believe it is impractical to try to protect the Porcupine and Buffalo Horn. Yet the public has not been rallied to know the dangers. At Earth Day Bozeman, I was deeply moved by how many people of all ages, one after another after another, were troubled to hear what might be about to happen to the all-important northwestern portion of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
I asked them to speak to anyone they know within these environmental groups and let them know that they are worried about what kind of world we are creating, and will leave behind, and will have left to live in in coming decades. If any or all of MWA, GYC, and TWA were to throw their considerable weight behind scientifically rigorous and ambitious goals for our Forest, we just might be able to protect it. There is tremendous desire out there to do so. People just have to know what is going on. Please, speak out before we have to write a terribly momentous elegy for this sacred place!
A short film by GYWA
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 800,000 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
April 7th- Beverly Law & William, Moomaw, Curb climate change the easy way: Don't cut down big trees, Phys.org
April 7th - Todd Wilkinson & Tom Sadler, What Toll On Wildness When Humans Want It All?, Mountain Journal
April 4th - Cathy Whitlock, Montana's WSAs must be part of climate-smart conservation, Missoulian
April 1st - George Wuerthner, Antidote For Rural Sprawl–Land Use Zoning, The Wildlife News
March 31st - Todd Wilkinson, Wildlife's Most Ferocious Predator: Human Sprawl, Mountain Journal
April 2021 - Christopher Ketcham, The Business of Scenery, Harper's Magazine
Spring 2021 - Dennis Glick, Easy Does It, Outside Bozeman
Spring 2021 - Phil Knight, Godforsaken Gulo, Outside Bozeman
Spring 2021 - Clint Nagel, What's in a Name?, Outside Bozeman
March 19th - Timothy Egan, To Save the Earth, Fall in Love, The New York Times
March 18th - George Wuerthner, The Active Forest Management Scam, Counterpunch
March 16th - George Wuerthner, The Institutional Bias of Forestry School Research, Counterpunch
March 12th - George Wuerthner, Protecting Wildlands Best Way to Protect America's Heritage, Missoulian
March 12th - Mike Garrity, Help Protect an Amazing Ecosystem and Free Carbon Sink, Counterpunch
March 11th - Todd Wilkinson, A 'Dark Ages' Of Wildlife Management Descends On The West, Mountain Journal
March 10th - George Wuerthner, Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act Introduced, The Wildlife News
March 9th - Rob Chaney, Bigger than COVID? Study Warns Land Use Errors Could Unleash New Pandemics, Missoulian
March 2nd - Clint Nagel, Guest View: Legislature is not Qualified to Manage Wildlife, Montana Standard
March 1st - Phil Knight, Crazy About the Crazies, Bozeman Magazine
February 28th - Phil Knight, Guest column: Protection of Yellowstone didn’t happen by chance, Bozeman Daily Chronicle
February 27th - Todd Wilkinson, What's Our Role In Saving Greater Yellowstone?, Mountain Journal
February 25th - George Wuerthner, Degrading Forest Ecosystems in the Name of Collaboration, Counterpunch
February 25th - Zak Podmore, Why noise from off-road vehicles is making life miserable in Moab, SLT
February 22nd - Clint Nagel, Legislative Policy Wages War on Wildlife, Missoulian
February 21st - Phil Knight, As Backcountry Fills, Will Wildness Be Left Empty?, Mountain Journal
February 15th - Phil Knight, Thrillcraft are Taking Over Wild Places, More Wilderness will Help, Counterpunch
February 12th - George Wuerthner, Ambler Road A Threat to Alaska’s Wildlands, National Park Traveler
January 30th - George Wuerthner, Putting Our Public Forests Into Carbon Reserves, The Wildlife News
January 26th - Todd Wilkinson, Greater Yellowstone Climate Guru: 'I Worry About Our Wild Ecosystems', Mountain Journal
January 25th - Howie Wolke, Thirty by Thirty and Half Earth: Promises and Pitfalls, Wilderness Watch Blog
January 18th - George Wuerthner, Protect the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Wildlands, The Wildlife News
January 14th - Olivia Rosane, Wolverine Caught on Yellowstone Trail Cam for First Time, Ecowatch
January 11th - Phil Knight, Wilderness Alliance Rings in New Year with Wilderness Proposal, Bozeman Magazine
December 18th- Jim Bailey, Tribal Bison are No Substitute for the Public Trust, Bozeman Daily Chronicle
December 16th- George Wuerthner, Wolverine ESA Listing Effort Demonstrates Political Influence, The Wildlife News
December 14th- Phil Knight, Have the Machines Already Taken Over?, Counterpunch
December 9th- Laura Lundquist, Gianforte’s Natural Resource Advisor is Former D.C. Pipeline Lobbyist, Missoula Current
December 7th- Shane Doyle, A Crow Suggests How The Crazies Should Remain Wild And Sacred, Mountain Journal
November 28th- George Wuerthner, East Paradise Grazing Plan Seeks to Expand Livestock Production, The Wildlife News
Watch Our Promotional Video
Save the Wild Gallatins! - Wilderness Podcast
April 15th- Damion Carrington, Just 3% of world’s ecosystems remain intact, study suggests, The Guardian
Grizzly Bears and Mountain Bikes Don't Play Nice...
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Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance
P.O. Box 5256
Bozeman, Montana 59717