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Where three states meet, an abundance of wildlife and decision-makers.

An almost universal dilemma in managing wildlands is that decisions tend to get made for land within lines drawn on a map rather than for entire ecosystems.

The point is illustrated where Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming meet. Yellowstone, our first national park, is hub to a 10-million-acre wheel of interconnected mountains and valleys. Combined, they make up a great wildlife habitat filled with moose, elk, grizzly bears, trumpeter swans, and much more.

Three states, six national forests, two national parks, two wild-life refuges, plus counties, towns, and private land owners all make land-use decisions for their areas. As more and more pressure is put on the lands, levels of concern rise, too.

West of Yellowstone in Idaho, potential geothermal drilling could affect park geysers, and Targhee National Forest proposes to clear-cut 64,000 acres. In Montana, oil and gas leasing and a proposed ski resort would bring more people into habitat for big animals. And in DuNoir, just south of Washakie Wilderness in Wyoming's Shoshone National Forest, 30,000 acres of timber are up for cutting. That may not sound like much, but Washakie is home to large herds of moose, bighorn sheep, elk. To survive winter, the animals head for lowlands, many via DuNoir, the last uncut drainage in the upper Wind River Valley.

Will 2 or 200 animals be sacrificed by any of these actions? Nobody knows. "But they continue to add up. They're bound to take a toll. We are scared about the integrity of the whole unit," says Montana's Bob Anderson, head of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition whose concern is for the whole 10-million-acre area.

Today half of it is designated wilderness, park, or refuge. The coalition seeks 2.6 million acres more as wilderness. Idaho's bill is for 560,000 acres (of 8 million still-roadless Forest Service acres). Wyoming's bills propose about 650,000 of 3.8 million roadless acres. At our press time, Montana had no bill.
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Title Annotation:Montana; Idaho; Wyoming
Date:May 1, 1984
Previous Article:In the Northwest, timber and salmon and more than 2 million acres of proposed wilderness. But how much is enough?
Next Article:Three different wildness bills. Which areas to include? Many show-me outings to help you decide.

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