About Us - The Bob
"Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact called civilization."
– Aldo Leopold
Together, the Great Bear Wilderness, Bob Marshall Wilderness, and Scapegoat Wilderness form the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, or “the Bob” as it is affectionately referred to, all of which lies in Montana. An area of more than 1.5 million acres, it is the third largest wilderness complex in the lower 48 states.
The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is managed by four national forests (Flathead, Helena, Lewis and Clark, and Lolo) and five ranger districts (Spotted Bear, Hungry Horse, Lincoln, Rocky Mountain, and Seeley Lake).
Great Bear Wilderness
Congress designated the Great Bear Wilderness in 1978 and it now has a total of 286,700 acres. This Wilderness, on the western side of the Continental Divide, shares its southern border with Bob Marshall Wilderness, which in turn shares its southern border with Scapegoat Wilderness. Glacier National Park lies just across U.S. 2 to the north of Great Bear.
Grizzly bear, lynx, wolverine, deer, elk, moose, black bear, mountain goat, and mountain sheep roam about these rugged ridge tops, gently sloping alpine meadows, and thickly forested river bottoms.
Bob Marshall Wilderness
Congress designated the Bob Marshall Wilderness in 1964 and it now has a total of 1,009,352 acres. The Bob Marshall Wilderness was named after early forester, wilderness preservation pioneer, and Wilderness Society co-founder Bob Marshall. This region was set aside as the South Fork, Pentagon, and Sun River Primitive Areas in 1941, and designated as wilderness in 1964. Here is one of the most completely preserved mountain ecosystems in the world, the kind of wilderness most people can only imagine: rugged peaks, alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls, grassy meadows embellished with shimmering streams, a towering coniferous forest, and big river valleys.
Congress designated the Scapegoat Wilderness in 1972 and it now has a total of 239,936 acres. The long northwest border of Scapegoat Wilderness is shared with Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the massive limestone cliffs that dominate 9,204-foot Scapegoat Mountain are an extension of the "Bob's" Chinese Wall. Scapegoat's rugged ridge tops slope down onto alpine meadows, heavily forested hillsides, and timbered river bottoms. Fish are plentiful in the 14 lakes and 89 miles of streams. Elevations range from about 5,000 feet on the Blackfoot River to about 9,400 feet on Red Mountain. Wildlife includes wolverines, moose, deer, elk, mountain goats, mountain sheep, mountain lions, black bears, and numerous grizzly bears.
Bob Marshall, The Visionary
Bob Marshall was an incredible man whose short life left an enduring legacy. Born to a wealthy New York family in 1901, at a young age Bob was set on leaving his metropolitan life behind for "genuine excitement" and adventures in the wild. He entered into a career in forestry and eventually earned his doctorate. He was a fiercely passionate conservationist and rugged outdoorsman who reveled in the romanticism and simplicity of primitive life. Never a true scientist, he merely loved being in the wilderness – he would take off on treks, sometimes for days, sometimes a year or more, in Alaska (where he was the first white man to scale and survey the Brooks Range), Idaho’s Selway Bitterroot, throughout what is now the Bob, Minnesota, Mississippi, and the deserts of New Mexico. He was known for his 40+ mile hikes, which he took regularly and logged competitively.
As his brother once wrote, "he enjoyed people just as much as the wilderness and needed both. He had a splendid sense of humor, great gusto and infectious enthusiasm." Bob Marshall was outspoken in bureaucratic circles and in his position papers on setting aside wilderness areas. He was concerned that our nation's crown jewels might soon be lost forever, and that without the help of organized individuals, "there will be countless souls born to live in strangulation, countless human beings who will be crushed under the artificial edifice raised by man." In the pursuit of his ideals, Bob Marshall bequeathed over a million dollars of his inheritance to the Wilderness Society and funds to promote the public interest in wilderness preservation. We couldn’t agree more with his sentiment, "…increase the knowledge of the citizens of the United States as to the importance and necessity in maintaining wilderness conditions in outdoor America for future generations."
It was in his honor and as a testament to his spirit, two years after his death at the young age of 39, that the Bob Marshall Wilderness was designated.
Source: "Montana’s Bob Marshall Country" by Rick and Suzie Graetz