Restoring Elk Country-Little Snowy Mountains Montana
Due to fire suppression and a lack of active management, forests can become unnaturally dense and overgrown…and that’s bad news for elk and other wildlife in need of quality forage and habitat. With that in mind, the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest implemented a multi-year, landscape-scale project in 2014 in the Little Snowy Mountains of central Montana where native grasses, shrubs and tree stands were ailing.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided funding assistance allowing crews to use heavy duty mastication machinery to mow down small, thick encroaching ponderosa pine growth within both struggling aspen stands and open grasslands. That treatment is then followed up with prescribed burning which results in more diverse and productive historic conditions. Translation: better groceries for wildlife. More specifically, the goal is increased forage quality and quantity as well as reducing the risk of catastrophic wildlife and an increase in overall forest health within the largest block of public land available to the Little Snowy elk herd, mule and whitetail deer, wild turkey and other species.