Some very good news about the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. We’ll see if it flies this time . . .
Citing a decade of groundwork, Sen. Jon Tester has reintroduced his Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act in another attempt to protect wilderness and recreation features around the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
More than 100 supporters filled the KettleHouse Brewery taproom here on Friday to cheer the announcement. Among the first to speak was Pyramid Mountain Lumber Chief Operating Officer Loren Rose, who recalled how timber workers teamed up with wilderness advocates to create an award-winning forestry project based on Tester’s unsuccessful Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. He compared that to a three-legged stool, supported by logging work, recreation opportunities and wilderness protection.
“Everyone who collaborates expects to get something out of it, something they couldn’t get otherwise,” Rose said. “Logs on trucks. Acres for wilderness. So far, our collaborative partners have got very little, but they supported us wholeheartedly. The final piece is the wilderness additions. This stool is not going to stand on one leg forever.”
Senator Jon Tester is keeping up the pressure to pass the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act . . .
A year after he introduced the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act, Sen. Jon Tester rallied supporters to keep momentum going.
“Two-thirds of the Montanans surveyed said they supported this collaborative effort,” Tester said of a recent private survey on the bill. “We can’t get two-thirds of Montanans to agree if they want ‘Clamahto’ or ‘Clamayto’ in their red beer. It’s time for the rest of the delegation to get on board and push this across the finish line.”
In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, the two-term Democrat said the legislation designating 79,000 acres of new wilderness around the Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot basins as well as recreation areas for mountain biking and snowmobiling reflected years of compromise.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.