Rallying for More Wilderness: Experience the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge

Last year we asked you to help protect Montana’s premier National Wildlife Refuge, and many of you did just that — calling on the Fish and Wildlife Service to finalize its 15-year Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and expand proposed wilderness. In the end, more than 20,000 public comments flooded into the Montana’s Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge (CMR), many urging managers to conserve more of the nation’s best wildlife habitat, hunting and backcountry prairie hiking and camping opportunities.

To thank you, The Wilderness Society is hosting a hike and tour of the Charles M. Russell Refuge during the annual elk bugling season on Sat., October 1.  Come explore the badlands, watch Ferruginous Hawks swirl overhead and gaze down the Missouri River as it cuts through the Refuge for 125 miles. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the Refuge’s the incredible natural and cultural history while walking in the familiar landscapes of Charlie Russell paintings.

The Wilderness Society’s Wild Prairie Legacy Campaign elk bugling field trip
Guests are invited to join us in historic Lewistown for the tour and other activities the weekend of Sept. 30 – Oct. 1.

The Charles M. Russell  is the second largest wildlife preserve in the Lower 48. It remains one of the nation’s last big beating hearts powering a healthy circulation of wildlife across a vast landscape. Some of the last wild American prairie still thrives in and near the Refuge, and your support for increasing proposed wilderness inside the 1.1 million-acre Refuge could result in its best and wildest habitat growing a little bigger. It’s a place that helps define the American West, and it’s an economic golden goose. More than 250,000 visitors explore the amazingly uncrowded CMR every year, and you are invited to join them.

Sage grouse, bobcats, bighorn sheep and trophy elk continue to thrive because the CMR includes 19,000 acres of designated wilderness and 155,000 acres proposed wilderness. When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invited the public to comment on the future of places like East and West Beauchamp Creek—home to crucial winter range for mule deer—you responded by telling Refuge mangers: “Wildlife need wild country… and more of it.”

You told Refuge managers to add another 25,000 acres of proposed wilderness so incredible places like Crooked Creek are better protected as habitat for migrating antelope, native wildflowers and burrowing owls.

Montana author Alan Morris Jones describes the CMR as a unique escape from modern life—a place where there’s still, “room for other, unexpected noises.” This includes the high pitched cry of mountain lions and the haunting bugle of elk.

A part of me needs to spend time listening to these calls from the wild. This is your chance to join The Wilderness Society and visit this national treasure and one of the great gateways to the West.