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Eastern Montana’s Plains – New Place for Wilderness?

PHOTO: Photographer Michael Forsberg is sharing his passion for the Great Plains at the Montana Wilderness Association's annual gathering this weekend. Photo courtesy of Forsberg
PHOTO: Photographer Michael Forsberg is sharing his passion for the Great Plains at the Montana Wilderness Association's annual gathering this weekend. Photo courtesy of Forsberg
May 17, 2013

BILLINGS, Mont. – Eastern Montana's plains are often considered a place to drive through, instead of a drive to.

The region is part of the focus of the Montana Wilderness Association's (MWA) annual gathering today through Sunday.

The group recently unveiled a Prairie Wildlands Campaign.

Photographer Michael Forsberg will show some of his work and talk about the plains, which have been his focus for more than 20 years.

"They're not sexy, you know,” he concedes. “They're not the mountains. They're not the Grand Canyon. They don't knock your socks off in five minutes. And what I'm trying to do is pull the curtain back and show people what the beauty is and why it's important."

Forsberg has published a book about the plains – “Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild” – and produced a documentary about the region, including communities in Eastern Montana, which will air nationally on PBS this fall.

MWA contends that there are thousands of acres of public lands in eastern, and even central, Montana that have wilderness characteristics. Forsberg agrees.

"It's the same sort of feel that you get when you're in Alaska,” he says. “It's just so big. You can really feel that spirit that's still there on the prairie and you can see it in the people that are making a life on the land there."

The MWA gathering in Billings includes a hike and a field trip. The public is welcome.




Michael Forsberg is at 402-477-5030. Event agenda: www.wildmontana.org/gathering.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT