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Michael Garrity, Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council won an important victory in federal court today for the grizzly bear and lynx that make their home on the outskirts of Yellowstone National Park in the Gallatin National Forest of Montana.

A federal court in Montana ruled that federal agencies violated the Endangered Species Act when they approved the Lonesome Wood timber sale which authorized logging of old growth forests in occupied grizzly bear habitat, including some logging in an inventoried roadless area along Hebgen Lake, 10 miles northwest of West Yellowstone, Montana, and just five miles west of Yellowstone National Park.

“Both grizzly bears and lynx are listed as ‘threatened’ under the Endangered Species Act,” said Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, which brought the lawsuit. “The logging project would have built miles of new logging roads and logged hundreds of acres of National Forest, including 500 acres of old growth forest. Roads pose serious threats to grizzly bear survival and logging old growth essentially destroys lynx habitat, which is why the federal court stopped the logging project.”

“If the agencies want to attempt to implement the project in the future, they will first need to prepare formal biological opinions based on the best available science,” Garrity concluded. “That will include restrictions to protect the species and ensure that logging does not jeopardize lynx and grizzly bears in the area by destroying and degrading their habitat.”

Original court order published here.

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