The Front - where the mountains run down into the plains. One of the last best places to hunt, fish, camp and watch wildlife.
The Front keeps bringing me back. The Heritage Act would ensure future generations the freedom of a traditional fair-chase hunt in these wildlife rich mountains.”
-Tony Porcarelli, carpenter in Fairfield
But there is no plan in place to protect those existing multiple uses on the Front’s over 400,000 acres of public lands and keep things the way they are today. This means that future land management could look very different: new trails could open up inaccessible ridge tops and drainages to motorized use, or conversely, out-of-state interests could blanket the Front with wilderness or punch roads in some of the best elk habitat in North America. Something also needs to be done to stop the spread of noxious weeds.
That’s why a hardworking coalition of ranchers, hunters, business owners, weeds experts, and conservationists have spent years working out a plan to keep the Front the way it is. It's been custom-tailored, for the Front. It would provide certainty for the people who live, work, and play long the Front. The Heritage Act ensures that there is reasonable access for all users and the continuation of grazing, outfitting, hiking and hunting.
To help us get there the Heritage Act has three main parts:
CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT AREA (CMA): 208,112 acres of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land would be managed under the CMA which is intended to keep things the way they are and protect against an uncertain future. The following uses/activities would continue:
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WILDERNESS: The Heritage Act would add approximately 50,449 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness and approximately 16,711 acres to the Scapegoat Wilderness for a total of around 67,160 acres. The Forest Service currently manages between 93,000 and 98,500 acres of non-wilderness lands to maintain its wilderness character.
NOXIOUS WEEDS: Noxious weeds are a common enemy for ranchers, sportsmen, private landowners and public land managers. The Heritage Act would require the Forest Service and the BLM to prioritize noxious weed management on the public lands. The total acreage involved is approximately 405,272 acres (this includes all of the CMA, Wilderness, and the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest).