Montana Custer Gallatin NF Releases Draft Plan & EIS for Public Comment

From Ric Foster, Policy Director BlueRibbon Coalition

The Custer Gallatin National Forest Plan Revision Team has released the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement initiating a 90-day public comment period running March 1 to June 5, 2019.   

The Forest will be hosting 10 public meetings, 8 webinars and 10 resource-specific podcasts available for download (March 18th). Maps and other materials will be available for review at public meetings, and planning team members will be available to answer questions.

Upcoming Public Meetings, Webinars & Podcasts

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OHV USE BY HUNTERS

By Dan Thompson

The Bitterroot National Forest (BNF) concluded their Travel Planning process in 2015.  A case can be made that the dominant theme of the Travel Plan alleged that there are wide spread conflicts among forest visitors that needed to be resolved as part of the Travel Planning process.  One of the lines of evidence brought forward by the BNF to support their “conflicts” claim were comments submitted during the process by Montana FWP that hunters complain about use of OHVs during hunting season.  The exact, complete quotation from FWP’s scoping comments is:

“Each year FWP staff in the Bitterroot gets the chance to talk to several thousand of these hunters at the Darby Check Station.  And each year comments about OHV use ranks first or second among complaints, rating right up there with comments about wolves.”

The lack of specific details in FWP’s comments coupled with my own personal hunting experiences got me to wondering about who exactly is complaining about what exactly.  So, I launched a little research project to try to figure that out.  Specifically, what proportion of elk and deer hunters use an OHV to assist them during the hunt?

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Excerpts from the MONTANA TRAILS IN CRISIS Report

By Bob Walker

The public land access that we enjoy now isn’t an accident.  The generations that preceded us took care to preserve our public lands and build the trails that we depend on, and it’s now up to us to do the same.  As pressure on Montana’s public land infrastructure increases, it is essential that we invest in our trails to preserve our way of life.

More than ever, our trails allow more Montanans to make a living in the place we call home.  Whether it’s a well-groomed snowmobile track, a rocky pack-and-saddle route, or an artfully banked mountain bike path, people will pay to get to the trailhead and beyond.  Over the last five years, outdoor recreation spending in Montana has increased 22 percent, from $5.8 billion in 2013 to $7.1 billion today.  That spending generates $2.2 billion in wages and 71,000 jobs (Outdoor Industry Association).

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