NonStop Local: Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness granted permanent public lands protections

by Kai Williams

 Approximately 61 acres north of Cooke City have been acquired by the Custer Gallatin National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday. 

The change marks the completion of phase two of the Absaroka-Beartooth Gateway acquisition project. It’s all part of a larger act, the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, which eliminates federal mining rights and prevents proposed mines from moving onto unclaimed public land adjacent to Yellowstone. 

The Great Eastern Lode, Southern Spy Lode and New World Lode are areas of mining claims that are now conserved as part of the Custer Gallatin National Forest. 

“Bringing these parcels into public ownership protects critical habitat for grizzly bears, elk and other wildlife, prevents backcountry development, and ensures access for recreationists,” Greater Yellowstone Coalition Executive Director Scott Christensen said in a Forest Service press release

Funding for this project came from funding came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and was completed in partnership with the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

Sen. Jon Tester introduced the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act in 2017.