EcoFlight flew with The Wilderness Society over the Great Burn area in Montana.
The proposed Great Burn Wilderness Area is a 250,000 acre expanse of wild country along the Montana/Idaho border, west of Missoula, Montana, in the northern Bitterroot Mountains. This primeval landscape burned heavily in the Great Fire of 1910, leaving charred snags, grassy slopes and expanses of sub-alpine meadows. The Great Burn contains outstanding wildlife habitat - some of the nation's largest elk herds live here - and numerous threatened species such as wolverine and Canadian lynx. The Great Burn is also part of an important wildlife corridor between the Selway-Bitterroot and Cabinet-Yaak ecosystems, as well as part of the larger Yellowstone to Yukon wildlands corridor.
The Great Burn Study Group works to protect this remote landscape of forests, mountains, rivers and wildlife with the goal of gaining wilderness designation for the proposed Great Burn Wilderness and conserving the wild and remote character of the northern Bitterroot Mountains. The group devotes itself to building relationships with rural communities and works to encourage collaborative solutions to land management problems, that preserve the ecological integrity of the lands while respecting the social and economic needs of small rural towns surrounding them.