Protecting the Wilds of Montana

group observing the Mud Creek project area forest on the Bitterroot National Forest

Lands, Wildlife, & Waters

Protecting the wilds of Montana has long been a priority of the Montana Chapter. Our teams work to ensure wild lands, waters, and wildlife are protected and that everyone has opportunities to meaningfully connect with and experience wildness. We work in conjunction with Our Wild Greater Yellowstone Northern Rockies Campaign to protect grizzly bears, wolves, and other wildlife, and wild lands in Montana. We also carry out additional campaigns at the Chapter level to protect all of Montana's special places.     

In 2021 we are focused on:

  • Building up our 30 x 30 teams and projects to protect and restore at least 30% of nature by 2030;
  • Advocating to stop harmful projects that would diminish habitat, adversely impact wildlife and waters, and reduce stored carbon;
  • Maximizing public support for permanent protection of essential wildlands, waters, and habitat; 
  • Fighting back against oil and gas leasing and addressing other issues on BLM lands; 
  • Continuing to support the Bison Range restoration and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes' management of the range; 
  • Supporting the Columbia River Treaty project with volunteer representation on the grassroots network working with the Ethics and Treaty Project.

Our work towards permanent protection of key wildlands and wildlife corridors involves public education and building broad public support, as well as tracking and commenting during agency planning processes, including on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service land management plans. 

More detail on some of these projects and initiatives: 

Tribal Management & Restoration – Columbia River Treaty

The Ethics & Treaty Project is hosted jointly by the Center for Environmental Law & Policy and Sierra Club with support from the Columbia Institute for Water Policy. The project works with the Columbia River Roundtable and Columbia Basin tribes and First Nations with natural resource rights and management authorities and responsibilities affected by the Columbia River Treaty. (The Ethics & Treaty Project neither represents nor speaks for tribes and First Nations.) The Montana Chapter has had a representative on the Project team and supports their vision and efforts.

The project’s goal is to promote principles of stewardship and justice in modernizing the Columbia River Treaty, which governs water and dam management on the Columbia River. The United States and Canada can update and modernize the Treaty as early as 2024, which represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change how the Columbia River is managed. The specific goals are to restore the river (including the return of salmon and other native fish species to areas now blocked by dams) and remedy historic injustices done to the Columbia Basin tribes & First Nations caused by the dam-building era in the Columbia Basin.

Read more about the Columbia River Ethics and Treaty Project here. If you want to learn more, or get involved, contact Chapter Chair, Stacey Hellekson at 



Mud Creek ~ A Special Place on the Bitterroot National Forest

On October 25, 2021, a small group of volunteers (and one staff) from our chapter and Friends of the Bitterroot toured the Mud Creek project area of the Bitterroot National Forest. We previously called for public comments and later filed an objection with allies on the proposed timber project that would impact grizzly bear habitat connectivity, bull trout, old growth, and more. An already heavily roaded area that needs recovery rather than further road-building and clearing and logging, Mud Creek is but one of many such projects threatening the Bitterroot National Forest. As we await a final decision from the Forest Service, we wanted to share some photos from the field trip that highlight its expansiveness, diversity of ecotypes, and natural beauty. Enjoy, and stay tuned for further action!