Montana's Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act

Jun 25, 2012

We started this year's mission to Montana with flights over one of the most beautiful places on earth - the Rocky Mountain Front. It's real big country out here. We flew landowners, ranchers, conservationists, radio and newspaper reporters and a candidate for Montana's lieutenant governor.

The Rocky Mountain Front, in northwest Montana, is an icon of wildlands, wildlife, beauty and diversity. It contains the second largest migratory elk herd in the lower 48 states, abundant bighorn sheep, deer and mountain goat populations and a robust and growing raptor population - all due to the connectivity between summer and winter habitats and the intact ecosystems throughout the Front.

The Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, a made-in-Montana plan built by ranchers, hunters and conservationists working together, would lock in existing motorized uses, add protections to more than 300,000 acres of roadless areas, and propose additions to about 86,000 acres of wilderness in the Bob Marshall, Great Bear and Scapegoat wilderness areas. The plan calls for a comprehensive attack on noxious weeds, and would create a weed-management area, spanning from Rogers pass to the Old Man of the Hills area.

The Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act:

  • Protects public access for hunters, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Designates 208,000 acres as a Conservation Management Area, a home-grown designation which would limit road building but protect current motorized recreation and public access for hunting, biking, timber thinning and grazing.
  • Prioritizes noxious weed eradication and prevention on the designated public lands which in turn helps protect adjacent private working lands.
  • Designates 67,000 acres of the Rocky Mountain Front as additions to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
  • Allows for continued grazing access for Montana ranching families.

Our flights took us over proposed additions to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, and proposed conservation management areas on the Rocky Mountain Front. We hope the aerial perspective helps inform your opinion on managing public land in this truly unique part of the country.