Achievements 

 Ronni Flannery photo

Ronni Flannery photo

GBSG was founded in 1971 by a group of university students. In the 45 years since then, we've evolved into a leader in the collaborative conservation field and established a strong track record of defending the wilderness qualities of the Great Burn Recommended Wilderness. 

Here are some highlights of what we've accomplished:

  • Influenced positive conservation language in the first forest management plans, and travel management plans, on both forests in our mission area. The existing plans are among the most progressive in the nation. The Great Burn is currently closed to motorized and mechanized use on the Idaho side because of our efforts and those of our conservation partners. 
  • Helped develop and shepherd sixteen different Congressional wilderness bills that included wilderness designation for portions of the Great Burn Recommended Wilderness. One of these passed both houses of Congress, only to be pocket-vetoed by President Reagan. 
  • Developed a robust backcountry stewardship program for our mission area, beginning in 1971 with a group of student volunteers. Today this program is carried out under formal partnership with Forest Service ranger districts for trail restoration and noxious weed mitigation. It also encompasses resource monitoring, student educational trips, crew support for ecological studies, winter aerial monitoring of illegal motorized use, and more. 
  • With conservation partners, appealed and stopped several timber sales proposed by the Clearwater and Lolo National Forests in the 1990s.
  • With conservation partners, participated in efforts to enforce legally the provisions in forest plans and travel management plans when they are either violated or challenged in court.
  • Pioneered a collaborative conservation movement in Montana, Idaho, and nationally, providing leadership on successful initiatives including the Lolo Kootenai Accords, Clearwater Elk Collaborative, Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee, two Secure Rural School Resource Advisory Committees, the Clearwater Basin Collaborative, and the Montana Forest Restoration Committee.
  • Since 2015, we have partnered with Montana Wilderness Association on a campaign secure wilderness for the Montana side of the Great Burn.
  • Award-winning leadership has received the Eddie Bauer Heroes for the Earth Award, several Montana Wilderness Association Brass Lantern Awards, the Cinnabar Foundation Sargent Legacy Award, and others. The Clearwater Basin Collaborative, which GBSG's Dale Harris co-founded, also received the US Department of Agriculture's Abraham Lincoln External Partnership Honor Award.