Some of the best elk hunting in Montana is in the Elkhorn Mountains, so when a prescribed burn project to remove invasive plants in the area was opposed in court, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation fought back, and won.

The Johnny Crow Project will utilize prescribed burning and the removal of invasive junipers into grasslands in the Elkhorn Mountains as part of an effort to rejuvenate forage for elk and other wildlife. The judge denied claims by two environmental groups and ruled in favor of the U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and partners.

RMEF Spokesman Mark Holyoak said his organization has always stood for responsible forest management.

“This was a project from a couple of years ago over in the Elkhorns which is prime elk country,” said Holyoak. “We wanted to file what’s called a ‘categorical exclusion’ which would allow them to continue a program to improve wildlife habitat, but there were a couple of environmental groups that stepped in and said no and went to court. We filed a brief in support of the U.S. Forest Service and we had a U.S. District Court judge that agreed with us, and so we’re pleased with that.”

Holyoak said the prescribed burns will take place in the spring when conditions are safest.