For the Blackfeet people, the Badger is home of the Blackfeet creation story and the sacred Sun Dance that links millennia of history and culture with the generations of today and of tomorrow. For iconic wildlife, like grizzly bears and wolverines, the Badger-Two Medicine provides important migration paths between Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
A cultural and ecological treasure
Badger-Two Medicine is a place teeming with native wildlife species. In addition to grizzly bear and wolverines, the Badger provides important habitat for wolves, mountain goats and genetically pure cutthroat trout. It is the connective habitat between Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex—providing critical sanctuary for plants and wildlife. It is also the headwaters of two major waterways that feed the Blackfeet Reservation and the entire northern plains of Montana.
Threats of oil and gas development
This area is so important culturally and ecologically that it’s hard to imagine the area ever being considered for energy development, but that’s what happen in the 1980s. The area was leased in violation of bedrock environmental laws and without consultation with the Blackfeet.
The leases have been mired in controversy and legal battles for over 30 years resulting in the federal government suspending the leases. Over the last two years, the Blackfeet Tribe and 18 other tribes along with conservationists have called on the U.S. Department of the Interior to exercise its legal and moral authority and cancel the leases, or alternatively work with the leaseholders to negotiate a settlement that would result in retirement of the Badger leases.
Several government agencies including the independent federal agency the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have officially weighed in supporting canceling the leases to protect the cultural values of the Badger.