Outdoors blog

Feds get 25K comments on CM Russell Wildlife Refuge plans

About 20,000 acres of the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge within the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, as seen from an airplane piloted by Bruce Gordon of EcoFlight, already is designated wilderness. In a new management plan under consideration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to change the boundaries of proposed wilderness in other locations within the refuge.  (Associated Press)
About 20,000 acres of the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge within the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, as seen from an airplane piloted by Bruce Gordon of EcoFlight, already is designated wilderness. In a new management plan under consideration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to change the boundaries of proposed wilderness in other locations within the refuge. (Associated Press)

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT -- The Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge no longer is just an expanse of wild prairie along the Missouri River Breaks in northern Montana. It's a lightening rod for how wildlands will be managed.

A proposed management plan would modify proposed wilderness areas — reducing acreage in the preferred alternative — and put fire and cows to work to enhance wildlife habitat.

The plan for the refuge — the second largest refuge in the Lower 48 — drew about 25,000 comments from the public, according to a story in the Great Falls Tribune.

The area, first designated as a game range in 1936 and jointly managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service for 40 years, was changed to a wildlife refuge in 1976 under sole management of the USFWS, with wildlife conservation the main mission.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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