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.