Tag Archives: Steve Bullock

Gov. Steve Bullock: Public lands make America great

A recent email sent out by Montana Governor Steve Bullock . . .

It’s past time folks in the West extended an invitation to the President to get outdoors. A little time in the backcountry has a way of helping us remember who we are and where we come from. It’s hard to spend some time on our state’s public lands without quickly learning some humility, and equally hard to return to your day job without being inspired by all we have in common.

Because where we come from 18 holes might be relaxing, but it’s not the same as sleeping under the stars, watching a herd of elk crest a hill at 5:30 in the morning or feeling the tug of a trout from a blue-ribbon river on your line. If the President had grown up the way we have, he might feel differently about pulling the rug out from under so many people whose livelihoods depend on our access to public lands.

The decision to substantially shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah reveals how at the most basic level he and his administration misunderstand what it means to preserve and protect our history – our heritage – for future generations. 16 presidents have designated 157 national monuments, dating back to 1906 when President Roosevelt first used the Antiquities Act to protect Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. In contrast, the President’s plans add up to the largest elimination of protected areas in American history.

An attack on public lands anywhere is an attack on public lands everywhere, and it flies in the face of who we are as a nation. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from – Manhattan, Montana, Manhattan, New York, or Manhattan, Kansas – public lands belong to each and every one of us. They are one of this country’s great equalizers.

Frankly, it makes me wonder whether or not the President is truly committed to investing in what makes America great. Because a fundamental part of what makes America great is our land.

Earlier this year the halls of our state capitol shook with thousands of voices chanting in support of keeping public lands in public hands. I stood side by side with hunters, ranchers, anglers, sportsmen and women, veterans, grandparents and kids of all ages and declared Montana’s public lands would not be bought and sold to the highest bidder.

That day it didn’t matter where we lived, what we did for a living or whether we voted for a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, or an Independent. What mattered is we stood together, united by our shared values and love of our lands, rivers, streams and most importantly our way of life. Crowded shoulder-to-shoulder, we doubled down on our shared responsibility to manage these lands and our commitment to preserving and protecting them for our kids and our grandkids.

This isn’t an issue that divides us. You don’t have to have a Swiss bank account to spend a day on the river. You don’t have to have friends in high places to explore mountains and trails. You don’t have to own a big piece of property to experience some of the best hunting and fishing in the world. And you don’t have to pay a fortune to experience the cliff dwellings of the Bears Ears to be humbled by an ancient way of life and be left awestruck with a sense of the sacred connection many of the tribal nations know so completely.

This is an issue that unites us. When we experience our public lands and embrace our shared responsibility to care for them, we’re participating in one of the great expressions of our democracy – where we go as equals and return touched by what binds us together.

Those who came before us had the foresight to maintain our history and our hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation legacy for the future. We have always found a way to safeguard that which we cannot replace. Public lands are our history, our heritage – our birthright – and we will not see them diminished.

Not now, not ever. Not on our watch.

Sincerely,

STEVE BULLOCK
Governor

Gov. Steve Bullock statement on the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana - Bob Wicks/BLM
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana – Bob Wicks/BLM

This is a direct, to-the-point statement just released by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock concerning efforts to “review” the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument . . .

Today, I sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke urging that no changes be made to the designation of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.

In May, Secretary Zinke began a review of over 20 National Monuments from around the country pursuant to an Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump. The Missouri River Breaks was one of the monuments designated for review. As part of this process, Secretary Zinke reached out to me for my comments and recommendations regarding the Missouri Breaks National Monument.

The Missouri River Breaks offers world-class, once-in-a-lifetime public lands hunting opportunities for trophy mule-deer, elk, and bighorn sheep. Opportunities like these attract over 130,000 visitors to the area every year and provide an annual influx of $10 million to the local economy. The local economy has come to depend on this. In addition to attracting more visitors, the region has sustained growth in many measures of local economic health and prosperity—including a 23 percent increase in real capita income.

Finally, the Missouri Breaks has remained largely unchanged for over 200 years. The monument designation helps keep it that way for our children and grandchildren to share. For these reasons, I strongly recommended that no changes in the size or to the designation of the Monument should be made.

Places like the Missouri River Breaks are important to Montanans and play a significant role in our way of life. These public lands are our heritage and support an unmatched quality of life. I will continue to fight to preserve public access to our lands, rivers, and streams and I oppose any effort that jeopardizes or calls into question the future of the Missouri River Breaks or any other part of our public lands heritage.

As Secretary Zinke continues his review of the Missouri River Breaks National Monument designation, I urge you to reach out to him HERE to share your own comments and experiences within the area.

Sincerely,

STEVE BULLOCK
Governor

Gov. Bullock unveils public lands agenda; opposes public lands transfers

Some upbeat news from the Montana Wilderness Association . . .

Today [June 9] was a good day for Montana.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock today unveiled a pro-public lands agenda that not only doubles down on rejecting the transfer of federal lands to the state, but also creates opportunities to expand conservation and recreation on our public lands.

“This is an issue that transcends party politics in Montana,” he said at a public lands event held at Riverfront Park in Billings. “It isn’t about what Democrats or Republicans or Independents want. It’s about doing what’s right for Montanans.”

The agenda includes four major initiatives aimed at increasing access, building Montana’s outdoor recreation economy, and supporting collaborative solutions for natural resource management. They include:

  • Rejecting all effort to transfer our national public lands to individual states or private interests
  • Creating of an Office of Outdoor Recreation
  • Creating a state “public access specialist” position
  • Calling on the legislature to unfreeze and fully restore Habitat Montana

Read more . . .

Montana governor allows bison to roam outside Yellowstone

Close up of bison grazing

Well, the guy’s last name is “Bullock” after all . . .

Wild bison will be allowed to migrate out of Yellowstone National Park and stay in parts of Montana year-round under a Tuesday move by Gov. Steve Bullock that breaks a longstanding impasse in a wildlife conflict that’s dragged on for decades.

The Democratic governor’s decision likely won’t end the periodic slaughters of some bison that roam outside Yellowstone in search of food at lower elevations. But it for the first time allows hundreds of the animals to linger year-round on an estimated 400 square miles north and west of the park.

The move has been eagerly sought by wildlife advocates — and steadfastly opposed by livestock interests. Ranchers around Yellowstone are wary of a disease carried by many bison and the increased competition the animals pose for limited grazing space.

Read more . . .

Bullock signs order creating Montana Invasive Species Council

Can’t hurt, I guess . . .

An executive order aimed at improving and streamlining Montana’s efforts to tackle the threat of invasive species was signed by Gov. Steve Bullock on Dec. 4.

The order establishes an Montana Invasive Species Council to serve as the overarching council to combat invasive species in the state — both aquatic and terrestrial. Bullock was joined by sportsmen, conservationists and land managers as he signed the order.

“Montanans cherish our outdoor recreation and spaces, and those spaces play a crucial role in our state’s vibrant economy,” said. “It is imperative that we do everything we can to protect Montana from the threat of invasive species that disrupt our land, water and native species. None of us want another knapweed spreading across Montana.”

Read more . . .

Another lawsuit filed over forest priority nominations

Another lawsuit challenges Gov. Steve Bullock’s nomination of  more than 5.1 million acres of national forest land in Montana as top priorities for restoration . . .

A new lawsuit has been filed over Gov. Steve Bullock’s nomination of 5.1 million acres of U.S. Forest Service land for priority management.

The complaint filed last week by Wildwest Institute, Conservation Congress and Friends of the Bitterroot is the second since Bullock forwarded his choices for expedited restoration and management to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in April.

Read more . . .