Tag Archives: Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act

‘Our land, our legacy’ campaign launches

Kent Peak in the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area - photo by Sally Carlson
Kent Peak in the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area – photo by Sally Carlson

A message from our friends at the Montana Wilderness Association…

On Monday morning, February 5, we helped launch the campaign for our Our Land, Our Legacy – a diverse group of Montanans from across the state who have come together to celebrate and defend Montana’s 44 wilderness study areas (WSAs), which comprise more than 1 million acres of Montana’s wildest, most pristine public lands.

Five of our wilderness study areas, a half-million acres in all, are under attack by Senator Steve Daines, who introduced a bill in December (S. 2206) that would open these areas to oil and gas development and destructive off-road vehicle use.

Each of the folks featured in Our Land, Our Legacy has a special relationship to one or more of the WSAs and can speak on behalf of these places like few others. We’re proud to have them as our partners in fighting tooth and nail for Montana’s wildest, most pristine public lands.

The launch of Our Land, Our Legacy drew a wave of media, locally and nationally, from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle to the Ravalli Republic to U.S News & World Report. On Tuesday, Our Land, Our Legacy advertisements opposing Sen. Daines’ bill appeared in newspapers across the state.

Then on Wednesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (SENR) held a hearing on the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, which would add 80,000 acres to the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Mission Mountains Wilderness Areas. With support from a spectrum of interests, from timber to outdoor recreation to conservation, this proposal is truly the product of grassroots collaboration happening in Montana, and it shows in the 74 percent approval it gets from Montanans. We couldn’t be more grateful to Senator Jon Tester for championing this bill.

The grassroots, bipartisan roots of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act stands in stark contrast to the other Montana public lands bill that got a hearing in the SENR on Wednesday – Sen. Daines’ WSA bill. In the hearing, Sen. Daines claimed he had the support of Montana’s communities for this top-down, one-size-fits-all bill.

Only a few hours later at a Ravalli County Commission meeting in Hamilton, Montana, MWA members proved Sen. Daines wrong.

Oh so wrong.

Thanks to the mobilizing efforts of our staff and volunteers, around 250 people showed up to the open meeting, held to address a letter the commission sent to Senator Daines in support of stripping protection from two of the WSAs in the bill – Sapphire and Blue Joint, which mostly lie in Ravalli County.

A staggering 153 people signed into the county meeting as opposed to Senator Daines’ bill, only 41 in support. Over the course of the next few hours, 52 people testified against the bill, 20 in favor. Moreover, 78 people sent the commission emails opposing the bill, compared to 20 in favor.

Read more about the meeting.

Please take a moment to visit the Our Land, Our Legacy website. Be sure to watch the video featuring some of the Our Land, Our Legacy spokespeople, and then sign the letter asking Montana’s congressional delegation to take a more balanced and inclusive approach to Montana’s WSAs.

If you’re feeling especially ambitious, let the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee know that you oppose Sen. Daines’ bill, S. 2206. You can email the committee at fortherecord@energy.senate.gov.

 

ALERT: Tell Sen. Daines to stand up for our values

Blue Joint Wilderness Study Area in western Montana - photo by Zack Porter
Blue Joint Wilderness Study Area in western Montana – photo by Zack Porter

Two important bills will receive a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, February 7.  Senator Steve Daines is a member of this committee.

Please call Senator Daines’ office today at (202) 224-2651.

(1)  Ask Senator Daines to SUPPORT S. 507, the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act.

This bill is the result of an agreement reached by a diversity of citizens—mill owners, snowmobilers, mountain bikers, backcountry horsemen, business owners, and conservationists.  The bill meets the needs of these diverse forest users, while designating 80,000 acres of new wilderness and solving many other business and recreation problems.  Senator Tester proposed this citizen-developed legislation while Senator Daines has refused to endorse it even though 3 out of 4 Montanans support the bill.  Let Senator Daines know that he needs to co-sponsor this made-in-Montana legislation.

(2)  Ask Senator Daines to OPPOSE S. 2206, which will end protection of many of Montana’s Wilderness Study Areas.

This bill, introduced by Senator Daines, represents the biggest rollback of protected public land in Montana’s history.  Not a single public hearing was held before crafting this legislation affecting almost half of million acres of some of most remote and beautiful public lands in our state, including Big Snowies, Middle Fork Judith, West Pioneers, Sapphire Mountains, and the Blue Joint.  Rather than save these lands for future generations to enjoy in their wild state, this legislation could open them for mining, drilling, or destructive development.  Ask Senator Daines to withdraw his support for this bill and allow citizens to have a voice in what happens in our wilderness study areas.

Thanks for your support of NFPA.

Warm Regards,

Debo Powers, NFPA President

Seeking help for the Blackfoot River

Blackfoot River, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail - BLM Montana
Blackfoot River, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail – BLM Montana

Another nice Sunday spread by the Missoulian. This one, by Rob Chaney, concerns the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act . . .

Alec Underwood accidentally hooked one of the biggest justifications for passing the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act as he floated by Belmont Creek last week. A 21-inch bull trout snatched the artificial hopper he’d tied to his tippet in hopes of hitting a cutthroat. The Montana Wilderness Association conservation associate got the raft to shore, jumped in the water and quickly unhooked the fish. It torpedoed back into the cooler depths of the channel.

Without those cold waters, and without those tributary streams, the Blackfoot River would hold no bull trout. As is, the fish known as the grizzly bear of the trout world faces the same challenge as its land-based predatory kin — near extinction due to loss of living space. Anglers must release any bulls they catch, unharmed.

In hopes that one day bull trout might be legal game fish in the Blackfoot again, Underwood and a flotilla of fellow advocates want to build support for the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. The bill offered by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, would add about 80,000 acres to the Bob Marshall, Mission Mountain and Scapegoat wilderness areas.

Read more . . .

Proposed Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act draws critics, supporters

The Swan Range - Lee Boman
The Swan Range – Lee Boman

The Missoulian’s Rob Chaney posted a good overview of the issues and debates surrounding Senator Jon Tester’s new wilderness bill, the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. The article includes links to supporting documents . . .

A week after Sen. Jon Tester released his Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, some wilderness advocates question what it might really do.

Now designated as S. 507, the bill resurrects a portion of Tester’s 8-year-old Forest Jobs and Recreation Act affecting the southwest corner of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. That bill ran into opposition from some environmentalists and U.S. Forest Service officials who objected to the way it mandated commercial work in the forests.

The new bill has raised eyebrows for the compromises it’s made with mountain biking groups.

Read more . . .

Tester announces legislation to expand Bob Marshall Wilderness

Grizzly Basin - added to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area under the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act - Zack Porter photo
Grizzly Basin – added to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area under the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act – Zack Porter photo

All that work by the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project over the past decade is finally paying off . . .

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester on Wednesday announced legislation that would add 79,000 acres of public land to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex while expanding access to snowmobilers and mountain bikers and boosting forest restoration projects with timber harvest.

The Democratic senator introduced the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act in Seeley Lake at Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch, adjacent to the 1.5 million-acre wilderness area, surrounded by outfitters and wilderness advocates.

The act would expand the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area to include Grizzly Basin and the Swan Front, the Scapegoat Wilderness Area to include the North Fork of the Blackfoot and Monture Creek, and the Mission Mountains Wilderness Areas to include the West Fork of the Clearwater.

The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project, a coalition of loggers, ranchers, outfitters, recreationists and others that formed a decade ago to find collaborative solutions for public land uses in the Seeley Lake and Ovando area, crafted the proposal that became Tester’s legislation.

Read more . . .

Also read: Tester announces new wilderness bill for Blackfoot-Clearwater (Missoulian)