Coalition wants to see wilderness proposals for Gallatin, Madison ranges

HELENA DORE Bozeman Daily Chronicle

BOZEMAN — As average temperatures warm and more people move to southwest Montana in the coming decades, ecosystems will change, and pressures on wildlife will mount, predicts Sierra Harris, climate change coordinator for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

One can get a sense of the scale and pace of habitat fragmentation while flying over the Gallatin and Madison ranges — the focus area for a coalition’s 2018 land management recommendations to the U.S. Forest Service.

Where jagged peaks drop into large expanses of forest, roads and trails criss-cross the landscape, and houses creep out from under the trees. West of the matrix, a waterfall cascades from Cedar Lake, where Hilary Eisen once caught large westslope cutthroat trout.

Under the Custer Gallatin National Forest’s new land management plan, the trout are listed as a “species of conservation concern,” meaning the agency is concerned about the species’ ability to persist into the future and will prioritize managing habitat with the fish in mind.

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Eisen is the policy director for the Winter Wildlands Alliance, and her organization is among the coalition of businesses, landowners and conservation and recreational

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