Some of the best mule deer and elk hunting in Montana is at risk of being negated by oil and gas development. Unless the BLM hears from public land owners, 650,000 acres of public lands in Central Montana - places like the Missouri River Breaks, the Rocky Mountain Front, the Judith Mountains and the Durfee Hills - will be managed almost exclusive for energy expansion with considerations for wildlife, habitat and public access and opportunity largely ignored.
That is, unless the BLM hears from us.
Every twenty years or so, the Bureau of Land Management revisits how they manage the public lands under their purview. Well, that time has come for the Lewistown BLM Office and your feedback is critical in helping to determine what the next few decades has in store for these public lands in Central Montana.
There are a number of proposals to consider in the Resource Management Plans.
Leaders from the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers have read and dissected the entire RMP, and in an effort to make the full plan (found here) more digestible while encouraging public land owners to speak up, we've provided some bulleted talking points below to help formulate your own comment letters. If you'd like to read Montana BHA's full comments, these are viewable here.
Comments are due by August 15th.
BHA Talking Points re: Lewistown RMP
- The public lands encompassed in the Lewistown BLM Planning area are important for Montana – and the rest of the Nation – as a relatively intact, ecologically important sagebrush steppe, as well as a culturally important area that supports traditional outdoor uses including hunting, fishing and viewing wildlife.
- The Proposed Alternative B best meets the long-term needs of the public because it focuses on improving, rehabilitating and restoring resources while sustaining the ecological integrity of habitats for all priority plant, wildlife and fish species, all the while allowing existing uses to continue.
- Alternative B is the only Alternative that assures that lands with wilderness characteristics, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and Backcountry Conservation Areas would be protected for long-term use by wildlife and the recreating public.
- Enhancing wildlife and assuring long-term recreation, including hunting, to continue as described in Alternative B is both culturally and economically important to Montana.
- Preferred Alternative C would have negative effects on Montana as it removes protections for all lands with wilderness characteristics and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs).
- Preferred Alternative C would remove the necessary land-use constraints that are in place to assure sage grouse are not listed as Threatened. Such listing would negatively affect current and future land uses.
- Unconstrained energy development of most lands covered in the RMP under Alternative C would have irreversible adverse consequences to both the ecological integrity of these landscapes and the public’s use of the area.
- Establishing four Backcountry Conservation Areas in Alternative B would assure long-term wildlife habitat features and provide quality outdoor recreation opportunities.
- Specifically, the Resource Management Plan must assure that the Durfee Hills remain accessible by public aircraft for hunting until a guaranteed public road easement assures other public access opportunities in perpetuity.
Comments may be emailed to: blm_mt_Lewistown_rmp@blm.gov or submitted by mail to the following address:
Bureau of Land Management Lewistown Field Office
920 NE Main Street
Lewistown, MT 59457
We appreciate you speaking up for YOUR public lands!
Learn more about the Montana Chapter of BHA: