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).
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
Source: "Montana’s Bob Marshall Country" by Rick and Suzie Graetz