I’ve spent the last month bow hunting elk and mule deer in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest (HLCNF). For me, harvesting an animal is only part of the experience I search for when I venture into the wild. Like many Montanans who hunt, I derive much of my enjoyment from the environment where I’m hunting. The natural beauty can salvage what might otherwise be the most demanding and disheartening of hunts. For those of us in central Montana, we are fortunate enough to have the world-class HLCNF in our backyards. However, this one of a kind landscapes didn’t there by accident and won’t remain if sportsmen and women don’t get involved in the revision of the current forest plan.
Once implemented, the new forest plan will determine the next twenty to forty years of management for nearly 2.8 million acres of public land that provide numerous recreation opportunities including hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, snowmobiling, caving, and many other activities. These areas are also home to numerous species of flora and fauna. Several of Montana’s most iconic rivers flow through the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, and vital water sources for surrounding communities have their headwaters in the Forest. If sportsmen and women don’t get involved, these places will endure and future generations will only have stories to show them how incredible they once were.
So how can you get involved and make a difference? The best way is to submit a comment to the Forest Service. Make your comments specific and factually based. MWF is encouraging people to comments on the following themes:
- Include clear wildlife management standards in the plan (currently lacking)
- Preserve large, unfragmented landscapes that protect wildlife
- Preserve the pristine nature of the Badger-Two Medicine
- Comment on any specific area you where you recreate.
If you need help making comments, contact MWF’s Central MT Field Representative, Marcus Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org.