An initial organizing committee began meeting in May 2011 to develop the concept and structure of the group, and to identify key people and interests to invite to the collaborative table. The full BDWG began meeting in October 2011 and has met almost monthly since its start.
Through the BDWG, we hope to develop common understanding amongst diverse stakeholders and serve as a bridge to broader constituencies on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest (BDNF). Litigation and appeals are commonly filed on the BDNF and conflict has been high around the new forest plan. Working Group members hope to provide a way to resolve forest level issues in a positive manner before they get to the appeal stage, resulting in more restoration work being done on the ground and in a way that achieves ecological objectives as well as community benefits.
There is currently no other forest-wide collaborative group on the BDNF, and the Forest Service has welcomed and supported the BDWG as a way to engage more deeply with the various interests involved in the Forest. The purpose of the BDWG is to develop agreement around priority areas and approaches for project work on the BDNF and to help facilitate completion of those projects at the local level. Our overall objectives include: