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Big Sky Forestry Initiative

The Big Sky Forestry Initiative will help deliver NWTF’s mission through the promotion of natural resource conservation by addressing critical ecological challenges in Montana.

Montana Mountains
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Big Sky Forestry Initiative will build partnerships and combine resources for additional funding assistance across Montana where ecosystems require restoration. Forging strong partnerships with numerous organizations and agencies will strengthen public acceptance and increase credibility. Protecting shared values, setting shared priorities, and implementing work with shared investments will be high priority to achieving success

Issues We All Share

Our Forests: Many of the forests across the state are increasingly experiencing declining health due to a variety of factors including: fire suppression, altered forest management, climate change, drought, insects, and disease.

Forest Fires: Montana’s landscape is naturally shaped by fire. Today, Montana’s wildfire seasons are longer and more severe. Studies estimate that over 85% of Montana’s forests are at elevated risk of wildfire. Our communities, landscapes and wildlife are all equally at risk due to “tinderbox” forest conditions that are prone to catastrophic wildfires!

Partnerships & Sharing = Solutions

We can create a catalyst for achieving our shared goals through Shared Stewardship: safer communities, cleaner water, accessible recreation and healthy wildlife habitat. Shared Stewardship in Montana involves determining management needs in Montana. It is about doing the right work in the right places at the right scale, using all available tools for active management.

Montana has shovel-ready projects, a signed Shared Stewardship Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and is already using the Good Neighbor Authority to expedite forest restoration projects. By partnering with the United States Forest Service (USFS) along with other federal, state and private partners, stakeholders and interest groups in Montana, we can make Montana more fire resilient.

prescribed burn in pine forest
Prescribed fire in ponderosa pine forest in eastern Montana, United States, to restore ecosystem health.
Prescribed fire in ponderosa pine forest in eastern Montana, United States, to restore ecosystem health.

Together We Will:

  • Conserve and enhance wildlife habitat on forest landscapes at a watershed  scale across the western states. These landscapes provide habitat and hunting opportunities for wild turkeys as well as elk, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, and many other species.
  • Create resilient forests and watersheds across the West that are better prepared for the next wildfire; creating conditions under which fires burn with less intensity and affecting fewer acres.
  • Protect people’s homes, livelihoods, and safety while providing defensible safe space for firefighters.
  • Provide clean water for drinking, agriculture, wildlife, and recreation.
  • Provide healthy forests with ample, accessible recreation opportunities.

For more information about the Big Sky Forestry Initiative, contact

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