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Too often in the world today there is truth in the statement, “These are wild animals, yes, but they are not free animals.”

That is case with the American bison in Yellowstone National Park. The bison are wild animals but not free to roam beyond the park’s borders for just beyond those borders are hunters and quarantines waiting to determine their fates.

Wild but not free is also descriptive of the big horn sheep in the Absaroka Mountains, mountain goats in the Beartooths, bobcats in the Bridgers, black bears in the Crazies, elk in the Gallatin Range, pronghorn in the Tobacco Roots, grizzly bears in the Madison Range, and wildlife throughout the Northern Rockies.

These magnificent animals are increasingly confined to smaller and smaller islands of high altitude habitat surrounded by roads, resorts, off-road vehicle trails, and other developments.

It’s late, but not too late to help our public wildlife. The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) would add roadless public lands to the national wilderness system and design biologically significant corridors.

Furthermore, many of these roadless lands were placed into national forests explicitly to protect our watersheds, but recreation and extractive activities have overshadowed that function. NREPA would elevate protection of our waters.

Please contact all your members of Congress and tell them that you support protecting our wildlife and water. Ask them to support NREPA.

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