|Current Protection||Management Agency||Total Area|
|Proposed Wilderness||United Sates Forest Service||180,000 Acres|
A significant portion of the Madison Range is protected within the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. However, 111,000 acres in the Cabin Creek Recreation and Wildlife Management Area lies between the Taylor Fork and Hebgen Lake and is sandwiched between the Monument Peak area and the main crest of the Madison Range. This exceptional wildland is without wilderness protection. It is critical Grizzly Bear habitat, and also could support wild Bison herds. Nearly 50 miles of stream support West Slope Cutthroat Trout.
The FS does not recommend wilderness here because of on-going biking and ORV/snowmobile use, but that is no excuse. The area easily qualifies for wilderness based on its essential character and should be added on to the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.
Another significant 43,000 acre roadless area lies between Big Sky and the Taylor Fork. This area of rolling hills, open meadows, and scenic view is also critical wildlife habitat. It includes Buck Ridge. The area should be added to the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Grizzly Bear are utilizing this area.
A third 17,000 acre roadless portion of the Madison Range north of the Spanish Peaks that includes the upper Cherry Creek and Spanish Creek drainages would connect the Madison Canyon and Spanish Peaks as a continuous unit. Known as Cowboy’s Heaven, it is part of a 26,000 acre roadless area that is split between the Custer Gallatin National Forest and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. It should be added to the existing Spanish Peak unit of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. It contains some of the best lower elevation big game habitat, and is used by several thousand Elk.