Montana's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act
Hunters and anglers across Montana offered their support to Sen. Jon Tester's Montana Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, noting the bill would safeguard dozens of irreplaceable fishing and hunting destinations across three national forests while protecting other recreational pursuits and ensuring jobs and economic stability well into the future.
"Sen. Tester understands the important role hunting and fishing play in the culture and heritage of Montana," said Tom Reed of Pony, backcountry coordinator for Trout Unlimited. "With this bill, he's guaranteeing the next generation of Montanans the right to hunt and fish in some of last, best wild country in the Lower 48."
The bill will protect 16 areas in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest under the National Wilderness Preservation System, as well as adding more acreage to the renowned Bob Marshall Wilderness in the Lolo National Forest. In Kootenai National Forest, the well-known Roderick Mountain region will receive wilderness designation.
Unlike traditional wilderness bills, Tester's act also provides guaranteed recreational access for motorized users, and guarantees the forest products industry a dependable supply of wood through a stewardship logging program.
"Senator Tester's bill rewards Montanans for doing exactly what politicians always urge us to do: Work together to produce solutions," said Bruce Farling, executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited.
For sportsmen, the bill protects the headwaters of some of the West's most revered trout water. In the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Tester's bill protects the genesis streams of the Beaverhead and Big Hole rivers. In the Lolo, important habitat for west slope cutthroat trout and bull trout will be added to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, furthering securing a bright future for these two rare natives of the northern Rockies.
"It also protects some of the most important mule deer and elk habitat left in Montana," Reed said. "Sportsmen see this bill as an insurance policy for their hunting and fishing pastimes. Thanks to Sen. Tester and this bill, hunting and fishing will always be a part of the Montana cultural landscape."