Custer Gallatin National Forest Planning: Almost There!

The CGNF forest plan revision is a good example of forest planning done well, but we’re not finished yet!

Photo by WWA Policy Director Hilary Eisen (on the ancestral lands of the Crow, Cheyenne, Sioux and other Nations)

This week, our partners at the Outdoor Alliance published a great piece on forest planning, featuring the Custer Gallatin forest plan revision as an example of forest planning done well.

In the best examples of a Forest Plan revision process, local residents, business owners, recreationists, conservationists, and others band together to plan for, care for, and sustain the land we all depend on. It can be collaborative. It can strengthen a community. It can lead to more protection and more people who care. Just like it did for the community surrounding Montana’s 3.2 million-acre Custer Gallatin National Forest (CGNF).

The Custer Gallatin is within close proximity to one of the fastest growing communities in the country – Bozeman, MT – and the outdoor recreation opportunities on the forest are a major reason people are moving to the area. The forest is also an integral part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. There are few other places in the country where world-class outdoor recreation opportunities overlap with a landscape as wild, and intact, as the Custer Gallatin.

We were, and continue to be, deeply involved in this forest plan revision and we hope it can serve as a template for future forest plan revisions across the country. You can read about our work in CGNF here.

We’ve sat at many different tables throughout the CGNF plan revision, including as a member of the Gallatin Forest Partnership.

The Gallatin Forest Partnership is a grassroots collaborative that developed an agreement to protect the Gallatin and Madison ranges of Southwest Montana, maintain existing recreation access and limit new development to preserve the landscape and experiences enjoyed today for future generations. Together, we’ve advocated for the Gallatin Forest Partnership Agreement to be wrapped into the new CGNF plan and we’re pretty excited with where things have landed. Now, we’re pivoting to the next step, to secure permanent protections for public lands in the Gallatin and Madison ranges.

If you’d like to learn more, the Gallatin Forest Partnership is hosting a virtual open house Thursday, May 13th at 5:30 p.m. MST. Members of the Gallatin Forest Partnership (including WWA’s policy director, Hilary Eisen) will give a rundown of next steps in the process to protect the Gallatin and Madison ranges. Those who attend will also be entered into a raffle to win REI camping gear and a bike tune-up from Gallatin Alpine Sports in Big Sky, MT.

Bring your questions and a friend. You can register here for the open house.