Custer Gallatin National Forest

Ecologists, fire managers and journalists visit a burn site one year after lightning started the Bacon Rind Fire, July 10, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

It’s been about a year since lightning started a fire that burned almost 4,500 acres in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness and Yellowstone National Park. Local fire managers and ecologists invited journalists to see how the burn site is recovering and learn how fire plays a role on the landscape.

Olivia Reingold / Yellowstone Public Radio


For the first time in thirty years, the U.S. Forest Service is updating its management plan for the Custer-Gallatin National Forest. It’ll determine where you can mountain bike, build new trails and harvest timber, among other things.

The Lionhead Recommended Wilderness near West Yellowstone, Montana, is part of the Custer Gallatin National Forest, May 31, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

The future of a forest stretching from West Yellowstone to South Dakota is reaching a pivotal point this week. The public comment period for the Custer Gallatin National Forest draft plan closes June 6, and the perspectives on forest management seem to be almost as diverse as the forest itself. One of the main areas of debate is recommended wilderness.

Flickr User, Tim Lumley (CC-by-2.0)

The Custer Gallatin National Forest is hosting public meetings about a proposal to update its management plan for the next 10 to 15 years. The Forest Service released a draft plan last month that could essentially re-zone sections of the 3 million acre forest and affect how people use it. Two national forests — the Custer and the Gallatin — were combined into one administrative unit in 2014, but it’s still being managed under two separate plans from the 1980s.