The Draft Plan provides management goals, objectives, and direction for about 163,000 acres of surface lands primarily in the Missoula, Granite and Powell counties; and approximately 250,000 acres of subsurface lands in Flathead, Granite, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Powell, Ravalli, and Sanders Counties.
The need for the plan revision is caused by observed changes to natural resources and resource uses over the past 33 years. The BLM has acquired more lands for recreation and public access; those acres need comprehensive management direction. We’ve observed shifts in the vegetation on the landscape, increases in the people and ways they recreate on public lands, and new regional strategies to address special status species including the Canada lynx, grizzly bear, and bull trout. New information, inventories, and trends related to resources such as recreation and lands with wilderness characteristics need to be considered.
The purpose for the plan revision is to make land use plan decisions guiding the management of BLM lands on the basis of multiple use and sustained yield. Specifically, the following purposes for action are necessary for the BLM to manage for its distinctive contribution to the broader landscape in western Montana:
• Maintain or restore ecological sustainability for forests and grasslands to provide quality habitat for terrestrial and aquatic wildlife species, and to provide opportunities for sustainable timber harvest and livestock grazing;
• Provide for recreation opportunities and improve public access;
• Manage for other social and scientific values.