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Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex in Northwest Montana - Sanctuary for Grizzly Bears

To any passing eyes empowered into taking a real and honest look around at the natural topography while trekking here in this land…

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex preserves a pocket of untamed wilderness beauty so breathtaking, that it exists somewhere outside of my ability to describe the virtues witnessed through the English language. This special tract of wilderness is beyond awe-inspiring with natural glory, wonder, and value. Spectacular scenery and soul soothing capabilities abound while engaged in setting tracks, on this tract of land.

Named in honor of Bob Marshall, a man far enough ahead of his own time that he made a spirited case for wilderness preservation during the 1930’s, a full generation before the Wilderness Act was passed into law. Due largely to a ferocious dedication in his efforts, on September 3rd, 1964 Bob’s name was officially bequeathed title to the wildest and most untamed wilderness still remaining in the state of Montana today, when the original Wilderness Act officially became Public Law 88-577.

Bob did a lot more in his 38 years of life than just nearly become the most beloved employee and dedicated wilderness defense specialist ever hired inside the U.S. Forest Service. Besides his well earned pedigree as a professional forester, Bob also took time out in his busy life to dabble in writing and philosophy, eventually making honored and valued contributions to the very of idea of wilderness preservation itself. Bob was an early innovator and trendsetter in the conservation movement and his contributions are still well appreciated today.

Before the sad news of his untimely death from heart failure in 1939, Bob also co-founded the Wilderness Society, a national non-profit land conservation organization dedicated to protecting natural areas and public lands in the United States.

The four founders of The Wilderness Society (1936)
From left to right: Bernard Frank, Harvey Broome, Bob Marshall, and Benton MacKay

The entirety of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex encompasses three neighboring wilderness areas that have each separately been designated into the United States National Wilderness Preservation System:

BOB MARSHALL WILDERNESS

Established in 1964 – 1,009,364 Acres

Chinese Wall
Bob Marshall Wilderness
Established 1964 
1,009,364 Acres
National Wilderness Preservation System

SCAPEGOAT WILDERNESS

Established 1972 with 239,936 Acres

Scapegoat Mountain
Scapegoat Wilderness
Established 1972 - 239,936 Acres
National Wilderness Preservation System

GREAT BEAR WILDERNESS

Established 1978 with 286,700 Acres 

Great Bear Wilderness 
Established 1978
286,700 Acres
National Wilderness Preservation System

COMBINED WILDERNESS COMPLEX

1.5+ Million Acres of Protected Wilderness

Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex Map - Scapegoat, Great Bear, and Bob Marshall Wildernesses in Montana

As directed by the Wilderness Act of 1964, the “Bob” as the area is affectionately known, must remain roadless and undeveloped forever.

All lands designated in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex were lawfully protected by congress to sustain and preserve the inherent natural and wild characteristics of the terrain, and have been established to leave the region unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment as wilderness.

Congress enacted the policies outlined by the Wilderness Act to secure for the American people of present and future generations, the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness. 

Hey future American generations… Basically here’s looking at you… We’re making the willful effort to conserve wild places so you might also have the chance to experience the magnificence and wonder of the wilderness yourselves… Preserved and undisturbed natural ecosystems maintaining untold wild beauties, charms, and thrills… Basically the way the land always was before industrialization became a thing here in the last few centuries of history.

You’re welcome. You may not be born but we’ve sought to legally protect these places, so that someday you may also inherent the values of these lands yourselves, to care for and manage. Yes, someday in the future when all of us here now will probably be dead. Nonetheless, it is our duty to bequeath  these natural rights onto you, as public land owners in the United States of America. 

I’m confident that any one of you whom does summon the courage to visit a wilderness yourself, during your life… Will be truly grateful the opportunity to still have the amazements, the awes, and the thrills, of a true wilderness experience. You’re welcome future people. We got you. We dedicate the continued protection and stewardship of our public lands in the United States to you…

To manage and preserve the existing wilderness characteristics and values of all lands designated into our shared wilderness resource in northwestern Montana, we’ve summoned the U.S. Forest Service. All managing duties, care, and stewardship activities befall directly under the responsibility of the Forest Service, the agency we’ve entrusted to protect our valuable wilderness resource. The Forest Service was organized and established as an agency of the U.S. Federal Government in 1905, fundamentally to benefit the land’s owner, the American people.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 - Public Law 88-577

GRIZZLY BEARS

Grizzly Bear Brothers
The “Bob” harbors some of the wildest beasts in the state of Montana including the dreaded Grizzly Bear

The Wildest Beasts in Montana

Outside Alaska, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex preserves habitat for the largest army of wild grizzlies still existing in the United States today.

In the not very distant past, grizzlies roamed wild throughout much of what is present day western Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Upon invasion from European settlers to western North America in the 1800’s, grizzlies were largely persecuted, and were oftentimes even outright murdered on sight. The primary difference maker during these bloody years of grizzly murder and mayhem, was invention of the large caliber rifle, which abruptly changed the natural pecking order of things, amid face to face encounters between grizzly bears and humans.

Grizzlies are large, imposing, and obviously powerful, untamed wild beasts. Grizzlies also have a reputation for being quick in becoming aggressive and fatally hostile when confronted or surprised during encounters with people. As a result of the inherent danger this circumstance can pose to people, these animals were exterminated from a vast area of their historical range during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Today, the “Bob” is a final refuge for these strong muscled, long clawed, and sharp toothed bears. One of the only places left for untamed barbarians like grizzly bears to roam wild and free, just as they have done for the ages before.

Invention of modern weaponry obviously wasn’t the best news for wild bears. Conflicts between them (Ursus arctos horribilis) and us (Homo sapiens), often resolves itself with the untimely death of these beastly and beautiful wild creatures. The danger is especially apparent for any bears crossing paths on chance encounters with humans packing the fire and fury of the modern firearm.

Protection and preservation of the wilderness land tract encompassing the “Bob” is valuable to all our native wildlife. Grizzlies also need places to live for themselves. The Bob preserves one final chunk of the last remnant wildernesses left in today’s age, still wild enough for grizzlies to still live out their beastly and fierce existences… Without running into so many larger conflicts with modern humans, that they would otherwise get snuffed out from the greater landscape and ecosystem, in one last hail of bloodshed, fire, and fury.

Grizzly Bear 101 - Never Underestimate a Wild Beast With Grizzly Bear Claws. Holy Fucking Dangerous.
BOB MARSHALL WILDERNESS COMPLEX

One of the last places remaining in the United States for untamed barbarians like grizzly bears to still roam wild and free, just as they have done for the ages before.

Current Range Map for Grizzly Bears

THE NAMESAKE OF THE COMPLEX

BOB…

For me and for thousands with similar inclinations, the most important passion of life is the overpowering desire to escape periodically from the clutches of a mechanistic civilization. To us the enjoyment of solitude, complete independence, and the beauty of undefined panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness.

– Bob Marshall

Bob Marshall… Wilderness Legend.

Robert Marshall was an American who fought for wilderness protection and preservation in the 1930’s. In 1939 his objectives were partially realized upon enactment of the U Regulations by the U.S. Forest Service. Marshall composed the U Regulations to replace the L-20 Regulation. The L-20 regulation had been the important first step, in the evolution of policy regarding wilderness preservation. It was the first official plan for specific wilderness protections ever introduced inside the U.S. Forest Service.

I love the woods and solitude. I should hate to spend the greater part of my lifetime in a stuffy office or in a crowded city.

– Bob Marshall

The U Regulations provided areas designated as U-1, U-2, and U-3(a) with greater protections from the increasing human impacts to the collective landscape. The U-1 and U-2 designations Marshall chartered, likewise became an essential early step in the longstanding historical battle to protect and preserve wilderness regions in the United States.

For the first time, certain activities damaging to the wild landscape became prohibited completely at locations protected by the U regulations. Road construction, logging, motorized vehicles, and the construction of new hunting camps and vacation homes were all banned outright. Marshall died two months after his U regulations were enacted, but before he left us the path he forged as an advocate for the preservation of wilderness was of such value, that his legacy is still well remembered today.

There is just one hope for repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every inch on the whole earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom and preservation of the wilderness.

– Bob Marshall

Marshall’s efforts to enact the U Regulations also shaped new directions within the Forest Service, and expanded the responsibility to preserve pristine areas within National Forests. These commitments likewise changed other ideas regarding wilderness as more Americans came to understand the vanishing wild landscape, and advocate for our collective responsibility to permanently preserve some remaining lands, in a wild and natural condition.

The U Regulations themselves defined the human activities that would be permitted, and would not be permitted on protected lands, which set new and important precedents for preserving some lands in a primitive and natural state. In establishing the U Regulations, Marshall guided us to the appropriate policies and practices for preserving an everlasting resource of wilderness in the United States.

Bob Marshall in 1937
1937

GRIZZLY PHOTO FINISH

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The Great Bear Wilderness → Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex → Montana→ July 10-15, 2019

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