July 28th, that is the date, so make sure you mark it on your calendar when GWA will conduct the Gravelly Range Tour. Please notify myself either by phone or email if you plan on attending. Contact info is below. We will be carpooling and meeting at the Town Pump parking lot at the northwest corner of the intersection in Four Corners at 08:00am.
Everyone should bring their own lunch, water, raincoat, camera, bug spray and a full tank of gas for those who are driving. It should be noted that we may run into sheep grazing and guard dogs in the area. Guard dogs can be aggressive! It will be a long day so plan accordingly.
But for a taste of the vistas to be seen, please check out the link below. Our plans are not only to enjoy the beautiful high-mountain meadows, but also to learn about the importance of placing bighorn sheep on the landscape.
Please stay tuned for updated information.
It is not often that bipartisan solutions are offered that cut wasteful government spending and improve the environment. However, that is exactly what both the Trump and former Obama administration proposed when they recommended closing the U.S. Sheep Experimental Station headquartered in Dubois Idaho. They recommended closure for financial reasons, but removing the domestic sheep from public lands in important bighorn sheep and grizzly bear habitat in the Centennial Mountains of Montana and winter range in Idaho would also greatly improve the wildlife habitat. This proposal is welcomed and long overdue. Unfortunately, special interest politics have intervened to disrupt the process.
The old federal sheep station perpetuates conflicts by allowing University of Idaho domestic sheep to use prime bighorn sheep and grizzly bear habitat along the continental divide on the Montana-Idaho border, all at tax payer expense. Numerous scientific peer-reviewed research papers have proven that domestic sheep can transmit pathogens deadly to bighorn sheep when contact occurs. Domestic sheep are also a black hole for Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears attempting to expand their range along the continental divide.
Amazingly, the 16,600 acres controlled by the station in the Centennial Mountains in Montana are not considered public lands by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to USDA all these nationally owned lands are off limits to general public access, including public hunting, hiking, backpacking, etc. The only “legal” public access through this area according to USDA is provided along the Continental Divide Trail. Leaving the trail on sheep station controlled lands, as we understand it, would be considered criminal trespass.
These are some of the wildest places in North America and they represent a crucial wildlife corridor between the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem to the west-northwest. A variety of species, including elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, sage grouse, wolves, and grizzly and black bears are adversely impacted by this government domestic sheep grazing program. So is walk in public access. This is no place for a tax-payer subsidized domestic sheep pasture.
Closing the Centennial Mountains to domestic sheep use, opening up public access and reducing the burden to American taxpayers is be a bipartisan issue. It makes both financial and ecological sense. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do.
Why then has funding for this old station been placed back in the President’s proposed budget? We encourage you to ask Senators Tester and Daines from Montana and Representative Mike Simpson from Idaho exactly that question. In the interim, hunting/conservation organizations like the Gallatin Wildlife Association and Cottonwood Environmental Law as well as other wildlife and public land access advocates will continue to pursue actions to prevent the wildlife habitat in the Centennial Mountains from being degraded further and work for full public access to these incredible public lands.
The public land in question, most particularly the 16,600 acres of prime wildlife habitat in Montana would best be transferred to the adjacent Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge as the value of this public land for wildlife and public hunting and viewing far outweigh any other use.
Congressman Mike Simpson of Idaho 2nd Congressional District:
Senator Steve Daines of Montana:
Senator Jon Tester of Montana:
For more information and to read more, please click on the link below which will take you to another page on this website.
The Montana Bison Restoration Project aims to enhance public awareness of conservation opportunities for wild, public bison in our state; and to establish a bison herd on public land and private land where bison are accepted, within and near the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.
The Montana Bison Restoration Coalition consists of individuals and organizations – conservationists, sportsmen and women, landowners and wildlife biologists – dedicated to returning genetically adequate numbers of wild bison to the state. We encourage respectful, public conversation with all stakeholders.
2.Reestablish publicly owned, wild bison on and near the CMR National Wildlife Refuge.
Currently, there is no herd of wild bison, year-round, in Montana.
In 2009, Fish, Wildlife & Parks initiated planning for reestablishing bison. A limited proposal that did not identify a reintroduction site, was developed in 2015, but there has been no decision to proceed.
Bison free of serious diseases that may pass to cattle are available from several sources for this project. FWP has rights to such bison now being cared for at Forts Peck and Belknap Reservations.
Bison in Yellowstone National Park are the only truly wild population of plains bison in the United States. The CMR National Wildlife Refuge is the best location in the country for establishing a second wild herd.
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The Gallatin Wildlife Association (GWA) is a local, all volunteer wildlife conservation organization which is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat in Southwest Montana. We are a non-profit 501-c (3) organization which has been in existence since 1976 representing hunters, anglers, and other wildlife advocates with the mission to protect habitat and conserve fish and wildlife populations on a sustainable basis for our children and future generations. GWA believes in the ethic of fair chase public hunting and fishing opportunities for all. We support the Montana constitution which states: “the opportunity to harvest wild game is a heritage that shall forever be preserved” and that “the legislature shall provide adequate remedies to prevent unreasonable depletion of natural resources.”
Our efforts benefit the community by focusing on wildlife issues through emails, newsletters and outreach events. GWA regularly meets with other wildlife organizations and NGOs on wildlife issues and with our Congressional Delegation to inform and comment.
Please consider working with Gallatin Wildlife Association by joining the organization or providing your email so wildlife issues and volunteer opportunities can be easily communicated.
President: Glenn Hockett
My passion is for fish, wildlife and their wild habitats. I love Montana and the Rocky Mountain West. I have a B.S. Degree in Rangeland Management from Montana State University. My experience in Montana, like the landscape, is vast, diverse, weathered and ever changing. I am honored to serve as volunteer president of the Gallatin Wildlife Association, an organization I am extremely proud of. Our focus is simple yet complex – we work to protect habitat and conserve fish and wildlife.
Secretary: Nancy Shultz
Treasurer: Paul Griffin
Other Board Members:
Jim Bailey - Retired. Former biologist, Illinois Natural History Survey, New Mexico Game & Fish Department, Professor of wildlife management, Colorado State University.
Alex Russell - I'm a board member of GWA because I support GWA's mission of preserving, protecting and promoting wildlife and habitat. When I'm not being a real estate agent, I try to spend as much time as possible camping, hiking, hunting or fishing with my family. September is ultimate month in Montana. This is when I put on a backpack and head into any one of Montana's incredible wilderness areas for elk hunting. There's is nothing in the world like hearing an early morning elk bugle on some crisp fall morning. GWA is all about making sure our kids and grand kids get to have the same thing.
Clint Nagel - Retired. Graduated from Southern Oregon College in Ashland, Oregon in 1974 with B.S. Degree in Biology. Retired from the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Science formally known as Water Resource Division (1978-2009).