Montana Outdoors

July 18, 2008

Penrose Peak, Part 9

As you look toward the northwest from Penrose, in the first photo, and a little more to the north in the second, you are looking out over nearly all of the 59 square miles of the Cherry Peak roadless area. It has long been managed as a roadless, non-motorized use area, home to abundant wildlife of many different species including the big game species of grizzly bears, black bears, cougars, bobcats, wolves, deer, elk, moose and bighorn sheep, (and very likely Canadian Lynx) and a wealth of smaller species including ptarmigan which is not endangered, but pretty darn scarce these days.

It’s an area of very secluded retreat for the occasional traveler on foot or horseback where the natural world can be viewed and enjoyed in approximately the condition it has been in for thousands of years.

In the proposed Lolo National Forest plan, it will all be opened for winter motorized use (snowmobiles), and the upper slopes of Cameron and Lynx Creeks (visible in the canyon area in the left center of the first photo) will be opened to regularly scheduled timber production (which would include road building and the further use of those roads for wheeled motorized travel). I have asked before and now ask again in concert with a large number of conservation groups… “why in the world would we want to do that“?

Cherry Peak roadless area

Cherry Peak

(These are my favorite two photos and they have made the whole trip well worthwhile for me. I will cherish them for a long, long time.)

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