I frequently ride trails above the tree line near my home in Bozeman. Standing on each summit as I take in this wild place, my happiness, and the esteem that I share this trail with animals greater than myself, I feel gratitude and reciprocity to take care this place.

I, like so many others in this community, care about wildlife and a balanced future. This is why I visited Washington, D.C., last week with friends and colleagues from Outdoor Alliance Montana to meet with USDA under Secretary Hubbard, the Forest Service, and staff from the offices of Congressman Gianforte and Sen. Tester.

Here is the message that we brought to Washington D.C.:

- Public processes enable us to ease conflict between local stakeholders and to create a shared vision.

- Allocate time and resources to the Custer Gallatin National Forest to monitor the new forest plan so that it can adapt management as necessary to protect wildlife.

- Human-powered outdoor recreation on the Custer Gallatin generates $223 million and supports 2,200 jobs. This sector of our economy relies upon an unparalleled outdoor experience.

- Ask us for help. We have volunteers who will help you maintain trails, educate visitors, and gather information for your decision making.

- We’ve worked for years to help create the Gallatin Forest Partnership Agreement and we believe it’s the best path forward for the Gallatin Range.

And finally, I want to thank our local Custer Gallatin National Forest staff. Your leadership enables our community to grow together through a healthy, diverse, and productive forest.

Keili Bell