Conservation groups on Friday hailed a court decision that blocks Montana from building roads and logging in nearly 37,000 acres of a state forest that serves as core habitat for protected grizzly bears. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by issuing a permit to Montana allowing it to open the Stillwater State Forest to timber harvests in areas that would damage grizzly territory. Just five populations of the hump-shouldered bruins are found in the Lower 48 states, including roughly 1,000 grizzlies along the northern Continental Divide in Montana, and an estimated 600 in and around Yellowstone National Park in the northern Rockies. It is the population along the Continental Divide that is at stake in the legal case brought against logging proposals in the Stillwater State Forest, in northwestern Montana.
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