For decades Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine area just south of Glacier National Park was the home of rampant off-roading that gradually carved up the forest’s phenomenal wild lands. Now with the help of local citizens who live along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front and our partners at Earthjustice, we’ve defeated an attempt to overturn a Forest Service plan to protect the Badger-Two Medicine from such damage.
Adjacent to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Badger-Two Medicine is 130,000 acres of wild windswept mountains and rivers that form key habitat for several high-profile species, including grizzly bears, wolves, bighorn sheep and native cutthroat trout. The whole region is culturally sacred to Montana’s Blackfeet Tribe, and was named for two pristine rivers that are born on the Continental Divide, Badger Creek and the Two Medicine.
Unfortunately, up until 2009 ATVs and other off-road vehicles were contributing heavily to soil erosion, trail rutting and wildlife disturbance. When the Forest Service responded to resounding public comments and closed the majority of the Badger to their motors, several motorized groups sued to overturn that decision. Fortunately, we successfully defended this travel plan in court just this January and ensured the Badger is once again quiet and a place where motorized use does not come at the expense of world-class wildlife habitat and water quality. We stand ready to defend the plan should it be further challenged in the courts.
The original Badger-Two travel decision was also based on 35,000 public comments. Elsewhere in the Lewis and Clark National Forest over 700 miles of trails are open for all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and snowmobiles.
Photo: Badger-Two Medicine in Montana. Photo by Adam Switalski, Courtesy CPR Wildlands, Flickr.