The snow is melting and that means the Gallatin Valley Back Country Horsemen (GVBCH) is gearing up for another season of trail work on the Custer Gallatin National Forest. Our local chapter clears hundreds of miles of public land trails every summer. And our members actively engage in agency and congressional land management decision making.  

So, while we are waiting to get our horses into the mountains, we are also keeping a close eye on the ongoing Custer Gallatin forest plan revision.

The GVBCH worked hard within the Gallatin Forest Partnership to reach an agreement with different recreational interests that would protect the wild lands and wildlife of the Gallatin and Madison ranges. We are eager to see this agreement adopted as the final management plan for our backyard public lands.

The Gallatin and Madison ranges provide important recreation opportunity for lots of people. These ranges also provide essential wildlife habitat for elk, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears and wolverine that need room to roam away from people and development. These mountains also feed our blue-ribbon trout streams and provide clean water for agriculture and the growing city of Bozeman.

The partnership built our agreement around these shared values seeking to balance growing recreation pressure with the conservation of this remarkable landscape. For those who ride horses in the backcountry, the agreement maintains opportunities for traditional recreational saddle and pack stock use. And it protects the opportunity to add additional acreage to the wilderness system through its agreed to recommended wilderness areas.

We hope you’ll join us in getting involved. You can add your endorsement of the agreement at www.gallatinpartners.org. Then, let the Forest Service know you support the partnership by June 6 when the current comment period closes.

John Mutter

Three Forks