Greater Yellowstone is one of the largest remaining nearly intact temperate ecosystems on the planet.
Depending on whom you talk to, the size and boundaries of the “GYE” vary, but it’s somewhere in the range of 18,000 to 34,000 square miles! To put that in perspective, the ecoystem is larger than Vermont and New Hampshire combined, and slightly smaller in area than the state of Maine.
A vital, remaining unprotected part of Greater Yellowstone is the 155,000 acre Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area, which is deserving of full wilderness desgination. This “W.S.A.” stretches from south of Bozeman, Montana to Yellowstone National Park, and also provides a wild, rugged travel corridor and refuge for wildlife between the Gallatin and Yellowstone rivers.
The Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn and numerous other wilderness study areas in Montana have languished without full federal designated wilderness protection since then president Ronald Regan pocket vetoed a bi-partisan bill passed by both houses of Congress over 30 years ago. Despite the veto, such designation commands overwhelming support from Montana and beyond.
Please remember that no matter where your feet are in the U.S., that these are your public lands, too. Your voice is welcomed, encouraged and needed to press on for full wilderness designation and protection.
Here are a few links and websites for additional info if you’re inspired to learn more and take action.
First up is a U.S. Forest Service map of the Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn W.S.A.: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5396904.pdf
The Montana Wilderness Association highlights WSA’s within Big Sky Country. To learn more please visit https://wildmontana.org/discover-the-wild/public-lands-101/wilderness-study-areas
The Wilderness Society works nationally to support wilderness designation and protect these areas from myriad interconnected challenges and threats. Please visit https://wilderness.org if you’d like to learn more-there may very well be a place close to your backyard that needs more advocates and stewards!