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  • The first Red Lodge City Master Plan was a land-use planning effort that conserved key natural resources, strengthened downtown businesses, and maintained the unique physical character of the community, through a consensus-driven citizen involvement process. “Democracy in Action,” read the banner headline in the Carbon County News on one of BFCF’s community events. Urging the city of Red Lodge to enact a land-use master plan, BFCF took no stance on what should be in the plan, only that it should reflect broad public participation. BFCF volunteers then worked (and baked cookies) to bring upwards of 100 people to six working sessions that fleshed out the plan’s details. The mid-1990s were a highly contentious time for land-use planning; few if any master plans were passed anywhere in the state. The Red Lodge city council adopted its plan unanimously.

  • During the city planning effort, the Postal Service announced plans to build a new post office on the outskirts of town. City and BFCF officials persuaded USPS to preserve the downtown location of this icon of small-town life (most Red Lodge residents have no home delivery, picking up their mail at the post office daily).



  • A BFCF task force established what is now the Boys and Girls Club of Carbon County, an organization that has served 200 youth, including 40% below the poverty level. Red Lodge may be the smallest community in the country to have a full-fledged Boys and Girls Club with a paid staff and in its own building.

  • BFCF administered an affordable housing grant of $270,000, which upgraded five houses in the city and provided five lots for construction of inexpensive housing.

  • The BFCF Living With Wildlife task force, with funding from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, has provided bearproof garbage containers in city parks and established a rental program for homeowners. The program was so successful at keeping bears out of garbage that the city of Red Lodge instituted bearproof containers citywide in 2008. The BFCF/FWP containers are now rented to residents outside the city limits.


  • BFCF purchased a computer, projector, and screen to be shared by community nonprofits for PowerPoint–style presentations. It sounds simple, but it’s been one of the organization’s most successful and locally popular projects.

  • A BFCF task force founded the Red Lodge Area Economic Development Corporation (RLAEDC), which seeks to improve the business climate in a county with a $17,204 median per capita income and a 12% poverty rate. RLAEDC’s accomplishments have included: City adoption of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (also endorsed by the county and state); completion of a Downtown Streetscape Revitalization project; and establishment of a Red Lodge Main Street organization.

  • BFCF, RLAEDC, and the Chamber of Commerce also established an Affordable Housing Task Force, which has continued to address affordable housing issues.

  • A BFCF task force founded the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation (RLACF), an umbrella charity that seeks to both fund and strengthen a wide range of local charities. RLACF’s annual Fun Run, begun in 2004, features about 600 participants and raises almost $200,000 a year.



  • A BFCF task force coordinated funding and in-kind donations from dozens  of private and governmental bodies to create an elk viewing Site along the road to the ski resort. The site includes a handicap-accessible telescope and signs explaining the importance of the Silver Run elk herd and the state-owned land that serves as the elk’s winter range.


  • A BFCF public education campaign, "Living with Wildlife," addresses ways homeowners can minimize conflicts with bears, moose, elk, deer, mountain lions, and other wild animals in this environmentally rich yet fragile region.

  • A BFCF task force created a citizen-driven surface water monitoring program to provide data on potential water pollution. A CRIC (Absaroka Creeks and Rivers Information Council), formed at the initial forum, conceived and implemented an inexpensive yet effective way to monitor water quality in local streams using volunteer labor.

  • BFCF has also helped incubate new nonprofit organizations, helping them with finances as they seek formal 501(c)3 nonprofit status. In addition to those highlighted elsewhere on this list, incubated organizations have included: Beartooth Humane Alliance (Nip & Tuck spay-neuter clinics); People for Playgrounds (child-designed playground equipment at Lions Park); Joliet Area Home Educators; and the Historic Regis Committee.

Each accomplishment has arisen out of a consensus established at a community-wide forum. Go to the forums page>> to view topics year by year.

Beartooth Front Community Forum 

PO Box 2383, Red Lodge, MT 59068


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