Custer Gallatin Forest Planning
The Custer Gallatin National Forest stretches across 400 miles – from West Yellowstone, MT to Camp Crook, SD – and encompasses 9 different mountain ranges, including the highest peaks in Montana. The forest offers every kind of skiing imaginable and it’s home to some of the finest ice climbing in the country. Although people visit the Custer Gallatin in all seasons, it’s truly a special place for winter recreation enthusiasts.
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.
2022 Forest Plan
The Custer Gallatin completed its revised forest plan in January 2022. The forest uses a variety of management designations to preserve access for all types of winter recreation, thoughtfully manages the busiest parts of the forest, and protects opportunities for adventure, solitude, and the wilderness experience that so many forest visitors value. It also benefits wildlife, by protecting migration corridors and large blocks of secure habitat.
Final plan documents:
16-page Foundational Sharing the Decision – “Magazine”
Forest Supervisor Official Transmittal Letter
Final Environmental Impact Statement – Volume 1 – Purpose and Need, Alternatives, Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences*
Final Environmental Impact Statement – Volume 2 – Affected Environment Continued and Other Disclosures*
Final Environmental Impact Statement – Volume 3 – Maps*
Final Environmental Impact Statement –Volume 4 – Response to Comments*
We are continuing to work towards permanent protections for key landscapes on the Custer Gallatin. As a member of the Gallatin Forest Partnership (GFP), we helped to craft a proposal to protect the wildlife and undeveloped lands of the Gallatin and Madison ranges while also providing plenty of access for all the different ways people recreate within them. The GFP Agreement strives to balance conservation, recreation, and wildlife values and is supported by a wide range of people who live, work, and recreate in and around the Gallatin and Madison Ranges. Much of the GFP Agreement was incorporated into the revised forest plan, including:
- 92,532 acres of recommended wilderness in the Gallatin Range between Hyalite Lake and Yellowstone, including the majority of the Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area
- 26,496 acres of backcountry area designation in the southwestern Porcupine Buffalo Horn
- 22,632 acres of designations to protect wildlife habitat and support mountain bike access in West Pine
- 17,642 acres of recommended wilderness additions to the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in the Madison Range, including 13,176 acres in Cowboy Heaven
- 50,000 acres protecting water quality, wildlife, and recreation access in Hyalite Canyon and around South Cottonwood Creek
Now, the Gallatin Forest Partnership is calling upon Montana’s congressional delegation to introduce legislation to permanently secure these conservation gains. You can help by endorsing the Gallatin Forest Partnership Agreement today!