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BOZEMAN - Officials with the Gallatin National Forest have closed the Horse Butte Peninsula to grazing in an effort to protect habitat for grizzly bears, wolves and western toads.

The U.S. Forest Service said cattle haven't been grazing the forest land for eight years now, but the allotment adjacent to Yellowstone National Park had been open for lease until mid-November.

The Forest Service analysis of the area says that closing the allotment to grazing would eliminate potential conflicts between cattle and bison. Hebgen Lake District Ranger Lauren Turner found Horse Butte is suitable habitat for at least five threatened, endangered and sensitive plants or animals, including bald eagles, gray wolves and purple monkey flowers.

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