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Wilderness Act

Guest opinion: Montanans bridging partisan divides on wilderness

Guest opinion: Montanans bridging partisan divides on wilderness

Earlier this month, Montanans who like to hunt big game, catch wild trout and just plain get away from it all celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

September 16, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Gazette opinion: Let’s stick together to protect Montana’s last best wildlands

Gazette opinion: Let’s stick together to protect Montana’s last best wildlands

Most Montanans are too young to remember when spectacular Montana land last was protected as wilderness. That event was in 1972. A true grass roots movement succeeded in adding the Scapegoat Wilderness along the Rocky Mountain Front to the nation’s wilderness treasury.

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Cool, clean water

Cool, clean water

Wilderness areas protect watersheds vital to agriculture, communities and fisheries.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Photo op

Photo op

Bill Cunningham poses members of his packrafting trip for a photo at the takeout above Meadow Creek Gorge.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Loading up

Loading up

After a 70-mile trip through the Bob Marshall Wilderness earlier this month, Bill Cunningham loads up his pack for a shuttle ride from the trailhead.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Morning wade

Morning wade

With his hiking boots hanging around his neck, Cunningham wades through Youngs Creek in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, followed by Erin Madison.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Dinner with a view

Dinner with a view

After two hard days of hiking and packrafting, Cunningham takes a dinner break along the banks of Youngs Creek in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

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Map study

Map study

Studying a topographic map and his GPS, Cunningham relaxes in a meadow below Hole in the Wall Cave. 

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Daybreak

Daybreak

The sun breaks over the rim of the mountains along the South Fork of the Sun River in the Bob Marshall Wilderness earlier this month.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Mule deer

Mule deer

Wilderness areas are important habitat for species like this mule deer doe, as well as elk, grizzly and black bears.

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Lunch break

Lunch break

With a mustard packet in one hand and some turkey jerky in the other, Cunningham takes a break for a lunchtime snack along the Youngs Pass trail.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Tiny boat

Tiny boat

Folded into a tiny packraft, Cunningham starts out his 56-mile float on the South Fork of the Flathead River drainage by launching on Youngs Creek with fellow packrafter Chris Solomon.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Big Salmon Lake

Big Salmon Lake

Big Salmon Lake is the largest lake in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Peaks from the Swan Range loom in the background.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Wildflowers and smoke

Wildflowers and smoke

Wildflowers bloom in an avalanche chute in the Bob Marshall Wilderness as a haze of wildland fire smoke hangs over the mountain tops.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Youngs Creek

Youngs Creek

Youngs Creek provided cool relief to Cunningham and his fellow backpackers as they trekked into the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Photo op

Photo op

Journalists Chris Solomon and Erin Madison snap photos of Bill Cunningham posing in front of the sign that marks the Bob Marshall Wilderness boundary.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Wild Bill

Wild Bill

At age 71, Choteau's Bill Cunningham is still hard at work trekking into remote wilderness areas and advocating for the preservation of more wildlands. He marked his 71st birthday on a 100-mile trek in early July.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Packraft

Packraft

Whitewater wasn't his cup of tea, but Cunningham still enjoyed a 56-mile float down the South Fork of the Flathead River in a packraft. To read more about packrafting, see today's Outdoors section.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
The Bob

The Bob

Cunningham has spent much of his life exploring remote areas of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Here he outlines the route he took on a 100 mile trip in July. The scab on his left hand came from a fall during that outing.

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Fire talk

Fire talk

Cunningham, at right, talks about wilderness with his fellow packrafters, from left, Jared White, Erin Madison, Scott Bosse and Chris Solomon, while relaxing in camp.

July 31, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

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