Beaverhead Forest Plan revision

This southwest Montana national forest is the largest in Montana, with many mountain ranges, splendid backcountry and scenic frontcountry as well. There are many species of wildlife. I could go on, but the important point is that the comment period on the new forest plan has been extended to the end of April.

Not only has there been controversy from off-road vehicle users, various conservation organizations have had differing perspectives.

Hoping folks will comment, here is some information from 3 conservation sources and the Forest Service. Please add more links as you wish in the comments.


  1. Eve Avatar

    Thanks for posting this, Ralph.

    A crucial part of the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest falls along the 200 mile continental divide range of the Beaverhead Mountains, which are shared with Idaho. The remote mountain ranges of the BDNF and surrounding BLM lands in Beaverhead County have some of the largest elk herds outside Yellowstone, and a correspondingly high number of wolves. Some of the best wildlife habitat, which has already been recommended for wilderness under the preferred alternative (6) could still be withdrawn under pressure from motorized and livestock groups. This has already happened. For instance, Mt Jefferson, at the east end of the Centennial Range, which had been previously recommended, was withdrawn reportedly due to the influence of the Idaho Snowmobile lobby. With 700+ plus miles of groomed snowmobile trail on the Idaho and Montana side of Yellowstone, it would seem the Bubbleheads would have plenty of room to high-mark without having to invade prime wolverine, lynx and griz habitat.

    The Beaverhead Deerlodge is critical habitat, and every comment that could counteract the motorized influence is important. Please take the time to check the links Ralph provided, and send or email a brief letter stating your support for wildlife, wilderness, habitat and quiet recreation by April 30th!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan