BLM Logo
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument
Release Date: 08/17/11
Contacts: Craig Flentie 406-538-1943    

Court Rules in Support of Multiple Use in Missouri Breaks Monument

Judge Sam E. Haddon, of the District Court of Montana; Great Falls Division, recently ruled in support of continued multiple use management in the Bureau of Land Management’s Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.

This monument was created by Presidential proclamation in 2001; the draft management plan was completed in 2005; the proposed resource management plan was completed and distributed in January 2008; and the Record of Decision and approved plan were released in December 2008. The BLM engaged a broad range of interested publics throughout the planning process.     

In 2009, six organizations and two individuals filed suits against the Department of the Interior; BLM, challenging the plan’s multiple use approach to airstrips, road management, off-road vehicle use, motorized use on the river, existing oil and gas leases and livestock grazing. The suits argued that the proposed resource management plan violated numerous laws addressing the management of BLM-managed public resources and did not meet the intent of the proclamation designating this monument. 
These individual cases were eventually consolidated for the court’s consideration.
On behalf of all public land users, the BLM was diligent in seeing that the approved management plan adheres to law and policy, reflects the extensive public input gathered during plan preparation, and provides a wide array of opportunities for all interests. The plan contributes fairly to recreational interests (hunters, hikers, floaters, pilots, boaters, recreational drivers, etc.) and economic interests (ranchers, outfitters, oil and gas development and gateway communities).
In his August 9 ruling, Judge Haddon wrote the BLM considered a reason able range of alternatives and “carried out the unenviable task of balancing solitude and recreation. Its decision was not arbitrary and capricious.”   
Monument Manger, Gary Slagel said he is obviously pleased with the ruling. “We are confident the approved plan protects the many values found on these public lands including the ability to seek and find solitude if you choose. It’s important to the BLM that these public lands be managed in a manner that supports the widest possible array of suitable opportunities for today’s users and future generations of public land enthusiasts. Multiple use is our mandate, and we feel the judge supported that with his ruling.”
“Writing this management plan has been a long process and we certainly appreciate all the members of the public who participated. I would like to express my appreciation to those who have and continue to support the BLM in our efforts to be good stewards of the Missouri Breaks. We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts with both current and future friends of the monument,” Slagel concluded.   

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument   920 NE Main      Lewistown, MT 59457   

Last updated: 06-28-2012