Chief Mountain Blackfeet Reservation cr. McCollum
We are pleased to report that after several years of researching and developing a strategy to address tribal grazing lease conflicts, NWF and our partners succesfully negotiated a grazing agreement on the Blackfeet Reservation in northern Montana. The agreement, with the support of the Blackfeet Tribal Council, converts the allotments into "owner's use" status for the benefit of fish and wildlife habitat conservation. The six tribal grazing leases bordering Glacier National Park's eastern boundary are collectively named the Chief Mountain Unit (Ninnaastakoo) and span some 24,000 acres. This wildlife rich region is home to elk, mule deer, grizzlies, wolves and abundant bird life. The Blackfeet Reservation spans some 1.5 million acres and its biodiversity is unparalled.
The Chief Mountain Area is of special cultural significance to the Blackfeet and preserving and protecting this region has been a priority of the tribe for years. Sharing a border with Glacier National Park has also created unique challenges for both the Park Service and the tribe in maintaining livestock infrastructure and addressing livestock conflicts, including grizzly bears which frequent the area. By transferring these permits to owner's use, the tribe has committed resting these pasture through at least 2029. Our goal is to support our partners and tribal allies to develop a plan that will help compensate the lost revenue to allotees and provide a rich wildlife area with climate resilience and high quality habitat.
National Wildlife Federation is honored to have played a small role in this work and supporting the Blackfeet Tribe in restoring this landsacpe and benefitting a myriad of fish and wildlife species. In particular, this grazing agreement may open up the door for further conversation around restoring bison to the Chief Mountain area, including Glacier National Park. This work also serves as a model for other opportunities to resolve livestock / wildlife conflict on tribal lands. Stay tuned!
NWF welcomes your support of this exciting project. We are actively fundraising to meet our goal of $15,000 by December 31.
Map of Chief Mountain Range Units
Elk are a focal species in this area cr: McCulloch
Grizzly near East Glacier cr: Hughes