In 1980, the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Team completed a plan that would guide wolf recovery efforts for a future wolf population in the northern Rockies. The plan designated three recovery areas – Northwestern Montana, Central Idaho, and the Greater Yellowstone – each of which included some portion of Montana.
The primary goal of the plan is to remove the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf from the endangered and threatened species list by securing and maintaining a minimum of 10 breeding pairs of wolves in each of the three recovery areas for a minimum of three successive years.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1973.