Future deserves maximum wilderness

Editor:

The Gallatin Mountains we Montanans know and love so well are at a crucial turning point. That’s because of the upcoming “collaborative” process where a limited number of “stakeholders” will draw boundary lines for a future Gallatin Wilderness Area. Inside those lines the Gallatins will forever remain the wild land they’ve always been. Outside those lines the future Gallatins will resemble mountains in less wild parts of the west where motor bikes race by, their riders oblivious to the sounds of songbirds, all-terrain vehicles block the trail, expecting you and your horse to get out of their way and hipsters on mountain bikes, groove to their IPods as they fly through the mud. 

Instead, the way to have more of the Gallatins inside the wilderness lines is to support the comprehensive Gallatin Wilderness and Conservation Area proposal developed by Montanans for Gallatin Wilderness. This proposal preserves over 540,000 acres and includes much of the biologically rich lower elevation habitat that hasn’t already been degraded by road-building. It also designates the roadless portion of the Gallatins within Yellowstone Park as wilderness, which would be a good start, since the Park Service has already recommended most of Yellowstone’s backcountry for wilderness.

Bozeman may be the size of Billings in a couple of decades. Imagine that population given mechanized access to the lower elevations of the Gallatins. There goes your fishing and hunting spot. There goes your privacy in that mountain meadow you love to visit.

To prevent this, please inform the U.S. Forest Service and elected representatives of your support for the Montanans for Gallatin Wilderness proposal for a 540,000 acre Gallatin Range Wilderness. The future deserves it.

Patrick Wherritt Jr.
West Yellowstone