Willingness to Compromise Puts Wilderness at Risk

Beartooth Mountains, Montana. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Many wilderness advocates would be surprised to learn that some well-known conservation organizations that purport to protect wild nature, actually facilitate the destruction of wild nature.

Specifically, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, The Wilderness Society and the Montana Wilderness Association, via the “Gallatin Forest Partnership” (GFP), support mechanized transportation and resource extraction for many of the remaining roadless areas on the Custer-Gallatin National Forest. As a retired wilderness guide/outfitter, I’ve worked, hiked and hunted in many of these lands for the last 45 years, and I know from experience that wildlife will pay a price for this malfeasance.

For example, the GFP wilderness proposal for the Gallatin Range includes only the 100,000-acre “Gallatin Crest,” while the remaining 150,000 roadless acres would become a backcountry playground for mechanized contraptions. The rich low elevation wilds of the Buffalo Horn and Porcupine Creek would be among the sacrifice areas. This is some of the most important wildlife habitat in the entire Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

By the way, about half of the 500,000-acre Gallatin Range is already “roaded and developed,” so the GFP 100,000-acre wilderness proposal would protect just one fifth of this magnificent mountain range.

These misguided groups excel at securing foundation grants that require or expect radical compromise (“collaboration”). Fortunately, the majority of grassroots conservation groups in this region oppose the Gallatin Forest Partnership and instead support wilderness designations for all or most of the remaining roadless wildlands on the Custer-Gallatin National Forest. My advice to folks who care about our dwindling wildland heritage is to look before you leap. Do not join the radical compromisers. There are many other groups that will do good things with your support.

More articles by:

Howie Wolke is a wilderness guide/outfitter based in Montana’s Paradise Valley and was recently president of Wilderness Watch.

Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
Wade Sikorski
Oil or Food? Notes From a Farmer Who Doesn’t Think Pipelines are Worth It
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of Vengeance
Hilary Moore – James Tracy
No Fascist USA! Lessons From a History of Anti-Klan Organizing
Linn Washington Jr.
Ridiculing MLK’s Historic Garden State ‘Firsts’
L. Michael Hager
Evaluating the Democratic Candidates: the Importance of Integrity
Jim Goodman
Bloomberg Won’t, as They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then Neither Should Trump
Olivia Alperstein
We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is
Jesse Jackson
Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion
Home Sweet Home: District Campaign Financing
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Latest BLM Hoodwinkery: “Fuel Breaks” in the Great Basin
Wendell Griffen
Grace and Gullibility
Nicky Reid
Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe
David Yearsley
Dresden 75