Here’s an excellent guest column in the Flathead Beacon by George Wuerthner discussing the importance of reserving wilderness areas and listing several in this corner of Montana still in need of protection . . .
The announcement by Montana Sen. Jon Tester that he would be introducing legislation to protect approximately 80,000 acres in the Blackfoot Clearwater area adjacent to the Bob Marshall Wilderness is to be commended. I have personally hiked all the areas included in this legislation and can attest to its important to the ecological integrity of the larger Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
The Monture drainage with its wonderful larch forests that glow golden in the autumn, and the North Fork of the Blackfoot with its deep emerald pools holding exceptional bull trout and cutthroat trout populations are both critical gateways to the larger Bob Marshall complex.
The Grizzly Basin portion of the Swan is the critical scenic backdrop to the Seeley-Swan highway and the West Fork of the Clearwater segment is a needed wildlands connection corridor between the Mission Mountains and Swan Range.
What Tester, and those supporting the legislation, recognize is that Montana’s wildlands are of global significance. These patches of self-willed landscapes are critical to ensuring the continued survival of many wildlife species, carbon storage, watershed protection, and the source for inspiration.