UM students take 1971 field trip to the Great Burn in response to the first USFS Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE I). RARE I in 1972 and RARE II in 1979 both identify the Great Burn as an inventoried roadless area, and assign it the highest of rankings in the Wilderness Attribute Rating System.
Lolo NF and Clearwater NF forest plans are published in 1986. Both plans recommend the Great Burn for wilderness designation. Several wilderness bills are drafted in Congress. One bill passes both House and Senate but is vetoed by President Reagan in 1988. National Geographic Magazine features the Great Burn as America’s Hidden Wilderness in 1988.
National and local motorized recreation use increases dramatically. Snowmobiles become more powerful, and penetrate off-limit areas previously too steep to negotiate. GBSG responds by formally organizing under USC 501(c)(3) in 2000, accelerating its fundraising, and expanding the scope and scale of its activities on behalf of the Great Burn.
A series of federal rulemaking initiatives address the protection of roadless areas. The Lolo and Clearwater National Forests initiate the revision of their forest plans. A national regulation triggers the review and revision of motor vehicle use plans on all national forests.
GBSG adds staff and expands to actively engage in multiple policy initiatives and collaboration around policy issues. GBSG also steps up its field presence, increasing the number of paid crew and volunteer projects to implement year-round monitoring, data collection, and a variety of restoration projects.