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Final revised land management plan, final environmental impact statement approved for Custer Gallatin National Forest

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Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson signs the Record of Decision. PHOTO COURTESY OF MORGAN DEMEYER, CGNF, AND USDA FOREST SERVICE.

CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST

BOZEMAN ­– Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service released the record of decision for the Custer Gallatin National Forest’s final revised land management plan and final environmental impact statement. The revised plan and environmental impact statement are the products of six years of interactive collaborative effort across the Custer Gallatin National Forest working with communities and those that utilize the National Forest to provide the best possible vision and final land management plan moving forward. 

“The final land management plan is a culmination of the dedicated time of thousands of people, including invested members of the public offering feedback, collaborative groups working across the state and across multiple interests, as well as employees in their associated fields of expertise,” said forest Supervisor Mary Erickson. “The final plan supports long-term resource needs and overall public benefit.”

The final revised plan highlights the potential for over 200 new jobs to the region and approximately $10 million in additional labor income. The plan will also help set priorities for investments that support work with state partners, Tribes, communities, and stakeholders to achieve active landscape management, vegetation, and wildlife conservation, and help maintain sustainable mining, grazing, forest products and recreation industries. The plan details the desired conditions, standards, guidelines, and objectives that will provide the foundation of future management activities across the forest for the next 10 to 15 plus years. 

The plan includes active management to improve forest conditions, while providing for clean air, water, and forest products. Management direction is updated for all plant and wildlife species and key linkage areas that contribute to the role of connectivity within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and across our broader landscape. The land management plan also recognizes the role of naturally ignited fires on the landscape and encourages them to be used as a tool to improve forest conditions and protect communities from catastrophic wildfires. The land management plan recommends approximately 139,425 acres as recommended wilderness areas and an approximate 207,675 acres as backcountry areas. Approximately 229,480 acres are highlighted as recreation emphasis areas, given high public interest. This mix of land uses reflects the vast spectrum of public comment, while acknowledging local collaboration and county government support and involvement in the development of the plan.

The forest hosted over 100 meetings and webinars across the forest throughout the process and strived to provide an inclusive and transparent process with partners and the communities we serve who could be affected by the plan.  

The final environmental impact statement analyzes the environmental, social, and economic effects of the revised land management plan and lays out several alternatives. The record of decision describes the selected alternative, which will become the land management plan.

The record of decision, final land management plan, and associated environmental documents and maps are on the Forest Plan Revision website.

For more information, contact Mariah Leuschen-Lonergan at (406) 548-1174.

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