The Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Project is back in play in the U.S. Senate, but getting to that point was not at all an easy or comfortable task . . .
Smoke Elser agreed to share his favorite place in the world with his least-favorite pastime, and it nearly broke his heart.
“I will support what we’ve done,” Elser said. “I’m the only one who voted against it. But everyone else agreed. And I want Grizzly Basin. I want that Monture drainage. So I had to compromise. But I’m not going to compromise anymore.”
What the dean of Montana’s horse-packing heritage did was concede to a deal that unified an unprecedented coalition of supporters around an expansion of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. In return for endorsing full federal protection of 80,000 acres, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and two Montana mountain biking groups laid claim to about 3,800 acres for future cycling trails. That’s next to a proposed 2,200-acre recreation management area designated for snowmobile use.
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