North of here lies the second largest wilderness in the lower 48 states. Made up of the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Great Bear wilderness areas, its north end abuts Glacier National Park, creating a continuous corridor of unspoiled mountains and valleys that harbor grizzly bears, mountain goats, wolverines, elk, moose, deer, and wolves.
Montana first protected part of this country in 1913 when the Sun River Game Preserve was created on the east side of the continental divide. Years of market hunting to supply miners and settlers with meat had decimated the elk herds.
Bob Marshall (1901-1939), pioneer forester and conservationist of the 1930s, was years ahead of his time in recognizing and campaigning for the inherent value of wilderness. His vision helped awaken the U.S. Forest Service to the need to conserve a portion of the vanishing wildlands from which our American heritage had been formed. Before his premature death, he had secured protection for nearly 5.5 million acres, including most of the area that was later to bear his name. Montanans convinced Congress to add the Scapegoat in 1972 and the Great Bear in 1978. Though wilderness must be balanced with other uses of Nations Forests, it protects resources for us all, like watersheds, fisheries, and wildlife. Someone once asked Bob Marshall how much wilderness America really needs. In reply, he asked, “How many Brahms symphonies do we need?”