Gallatin Wildlife


Wildlife Advocates for Southwestern Montana


Elk in Yellowstone National Park. Photograph by Clint Nagel taken 08082019.

Coming Up:


Please join the Gallatin Wildlife Association on December 3rd at 6:30pm in the Bozeman Library. We will host

Save the Yellowstone Grizzly

for an hour of presentation and discussion on the future of this magnificent species.


Save the Yellowstone Grizzly (STYG) is a recent established 501-c3 founded by Doug Peacock in 2016 as a response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) statement recommending the removal of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem from their “threatened” status under the Endangered Species Act.”

For more information on STYG check out their website at:


Come and find out more about Save the Yellowstone Grizzly and the Gallatin Wildlife Association and how we can work together to save this magnificent mammal. GWA’s membership meeting will proceed presentation.


Check out the Gallatin Wildlife Association, Our website can be found at


Climate Strike - September 20, 2019

The Bozeman community participated in a global event on a rainy and cool march on September 20, 2019. Millions of people across the world marched for action in fighting climate change and citizens of Bozeman were no different. It is estimated that at least 250 people attended the rain-soaked event and that is pretty good for a community of the size of Bozeman, Montana. GWA was proud to have board members and GWA members attend this event. This being only a small sample of the kind of action and events GWA is doing in its advocation for wildlife and protection of a greater biodiversity here in southwest Montana and around the world.


Pictures provided by Glenn Monahan of GWA.








To View GWA's comments on the Custer Gallatin National Forest Revised Forest Plan, look here.


1. GWA has amended their Custer Gallatin National Forest Revised Forest Plan comments!


 2. The Link To GWA's Original Comments Can Be Found Here!



Custer/Gallatin National Forest

Renounces Concern for Imperiled Species


In developing a new long-range plan, the Custer/Gallatin National Forest is using the Forest Service 2012 planning rules for the first time. This has produced a serious decline in Forest Service recognition of and support for rare and declining species on the Custer/Gallatin Forest.


The current Forest plan recognizes a 2011 list of sensitive species identified across Region 1 of the Service. The new plan will replace these species with a list of “species of conservation concern” on the Forest.


Currently, Custer/Gallatin recognizes 29 vertebrate wildlife as sensitive species, affording them enhanced concern in management decisions. Of these, 27 are on the Custer Forest; 14 are on the Gallatin Forest. (Twelve occur on both Forests.) The draft Forest plan proposes replacing these with only 2 species – sage grouse and white-tailed prairie dog.


Threats to wildlife, including extinctions, extirpations, fragmented populations and degrading genomes, have been increasing for decades. Thus, the declining focus on imperiled wildlife, from 29 species to 2, seems absurd. Moreover, the draft plan states, as a desired future condition for the Custer/Gallatin: “A complete suite of native species is present, with sufficient numbers and distribution to be adaptable to changing conditions for long-term persistence.” 


The Custer/Gallatin analyzed 91 vertebrate species for possible listing as species of conservation concern. However, ultimate decisions come from the Regional Forester. Apparently, the Forest suggested 6 species for listing – the 2 cited above and 4 that were rejected by the Regional Forester. These 4 are western toad, arctic grayling, westslope cutthroat and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. In a brief meeting with the Regional Forester, Gallatin Wildlife was unable to ask for an explanation of these rejections.

The Forest list of analyzed species failed to include 2 species from the current list of sensitive species – greater prairie-chicken and wolverine. Other notable omissions were moose and swift fox.


Much of the decline in Forest Service emphasis upon imperiled wildlife stems from the “new” 2012 planning rules. New rules require that concern for population viability must be “substantial”. Species that are suspected, but not clearly known to be perennially present on a Forest are not allowed for listing as “of concern”. (Note that this rejects special concern for native species that have been extirpated from the Forest.) The rules allow the Regional Forester to reject listing if a species is present on only a small fraction of the Forest – and missing from most of its native Forest range. Lastly, species may not be listed as of conservation concern if evidence about the species presence, abundance, trends or distribution is considered “insufficient”.  


Having limited local information on rare species is common. The Forest Service rule indicates that the Service is more willing to risk loss of a native species than to risk an erroneous, but conservative, conclusion that a species is imperiled. Nineteen species were cited as having insufficient information in the Custer/Gallatin analysis. Sixteen of these were not identified as “secure”, but were not listed as of concern.


Notably rejected as being of conservation concern are bison (absent from almost all its large native range on the Forest) and bighorn sheep (persisting in small, somewhat isolated herds that, according to much available science, are not adequate for maintaining genetic quality and long-term persistence).


The Forest Service contends that the abandoned category of sensitive species is similar to the new category of species of conservation concern. It seems similarity is quite limited when the Custer/Gallatin goes abruptly from 29 sensitive species to only 2 species of conservation concern.


The real danger lies in the implication that, of all the vertebrate wildlife on the Custer/Gallatin, so many species are not of conservation concern. While the inadequate list of species of concern may diminish Forest Service support for imperiled species, the implication is also misleading to the public.


Clearly, the application of the 2012 planning rule by the Forest and Regional Forester is a step away from wildlife conservation on our National Forest.


Jim Bailey, Belgrade   April 12, 2019



Activities of the 2018 Year: Gallatin Wildlife Association


If you want to know what GWA does, this will provide you some insight.

  • GWA is a non-profit volunteer wildlife conservation organization representing hunters and anglers in Southwest Montana and elsewhere.  Our mission is simply to protect habitat and conserve fish and wildlife.  GWA supports sustainable management of fish and wildlife populations through fair chase public hunting and fishing opportunities that will ensure these traditions are passed on for future generations to enjoy. 
  • Our efforts benefit the community by continuing to focus on wildlife issues through emails, newsletters and outreach events.
  • Jan. 2, submitted on GWA's behalf was a supplemental comment to the Bozeman Ranger District of Custer Gallatin National Forest, comments pertaining to the North Bridger’s Forest Health Project.
  • Feb. 22 GWA cohosted the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, a free event for the community. Here we bring together local grassroots groups to share their efforts for conservation
  • Mar. 3, a 59-page comment on behalf of GWA was submitted to the Custer Gallatin National Forest concerning the Custer Gallatin National Forest Revision Plan.
  • Apr. 6, submitted comments and concerns to Sec. Zinke on the management status of the National Bison Range in Moise, Montana. We were urging them to complete the necessary documentation and actions including the revising of the Notice of Intent, preparing a draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP), and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
  • Apr. 10, comments were provided on behalf of GWA on the Emigrant Crevice Mineral Withdrawal Draft Environmental Assessment to the Custer Gallatin National Forest.
  • GWA hosted a community event on June 28th on Wilderness, Wildlife and the Gallatin Range.
  • July 28th GWA did a Lighthawk flight to photo document conditions in the Gallatin and Bridger Ranges and generated a power point program which was presented to the community
  • Sponsored a community presentation on Oct 24th, giving the history and importance of the Gallatin Range
  • On Oct. 28, GWA provided a 24-page commentary to the Montana Department Natural Resources and Conservation concerning the Limestone West Timber Sale Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
  • Began our involvement with Montanans for Safe Wildlife Passage including the attending of the 2018 Summit in Helena, Montana on Dec. 4,5.
  • December 4th community presentation: What Future for the Gallatin Range?
  • January 14th , 2019 community presentation about wildlife corridors, connectivity and MSWP info
  • GWA supported development of the Montana Wild Bison Restoration Coalition as a separate grass-roots organization.
  • GWA promoted the application of science to Fish, Wildlife & Parks and their Commission, especially regarding management of small populations such as bighorn sheep. 
  • GWA opposed on economic and ecological grounds to use the Centennial Mountains by research/domestic sheep from the research stat ion in DuBois, Idaho.  
  • GWA petitioned the Forest Service to reevaluate domestic sheep grazing in the Gravelly Range, regarding its effective elimination of developing any self-sustaining bighorn herds on the Beaverhead/Deerlodge Forest.  
  • We attend numerous meetings and report back to members and an interested public about actions/management decisions that affect wildlife and their habitat.
  • GWA regularly communicates with the public through our website, please check us out;
  • Communications include sending talking points so more citizens can effectively communicate with decision makers.
  • When we host or cohost an event, the goals of GWA are to raise awareness about conservation issues, raise money to continue our work and to add and empower more citizens to understand issues that affect wildlife so they can advocate for wildlife 

GWA's Support for

 Wildlife Crossings:



GWA would like to thank Montanans for Safe Wildlife Passage (MSWP) and Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC) for providing these videos on wildlife crossings. GWA has long been a proponent of furthering wildlife connectivity and stories such as these in Nevada and Washington are examples of what could be done here in Montana. We would like to see more attention given to these success stories and to that effort, GWA is a proud member of MSWP. For the reason of habitat and corridor fragmentation, wildlife is being prevented from reaching their normal range and habitat. The Wildland Urban Interface is taking its toll on wildlife and because of that it is magnifying the need for big ideas.

One of Our (GWA) Goals: A Wildlife Crossing over I-90 at Bozeman Pass


Examples of Habitat and Corridor Fragmentation:

Pictures taken along the Gallatin Front and Bridger/Bangtail/Gallatin Complex

Pictures were taken by Clint Nagel over a period of time to show the various complexities facing wildlife crossings and the wildland urban interface.


We view one of our most pressing needs is to help facilitate a wildlife crossing over I-90 at or near the vicinity of Bozeman Pass between Bozeman and Livingston. We would like to protect the existing use of a wildlife corridor that is present; perhaps allowing this to become a permeable barrier (rather than an impermeable barrier) to wildlife. That terminology of a permeable barrier is key to use when we write our comments on the Custer Gallatin National Forest Revision Plan. The existing Gallatin-Bridger Connectivity Corridor is one and is part of the totality of wildlife corridors which exists between the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.


One of the highlights of the MSWP summit in December was the presentation of a 30 min film on the history and construction of the project near Snoqualimie Pass in Washington State. That film can be found on YouTube but we also will present that here for you to view. This will provide a better understanding of what has to be done, the scope of the work, time tables, etc.  The video is below.


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