HELENA, Mont. – At the Sieben Ranch Block Management Area, Governor Greg Gianforte today signed a bill to double the payment cap for landowners increasing public access through Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) Block Management Program.
“Thanks to generous landowners like the Baucus family participating in Block Management, Montanans have access to millions of acres of private land to hunt,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Today, we’re investing in the success of this program for years to come for the benefit of hunters and landowners.”
The Block Management Program is a cooperative program between private landowners and FWP that provides the public with free hunting access to private land and helps landowners manage hunting activities.
Sponsored by Sen. Steve Hinebauch, R-Wibaux, SB 58 doubles the cap on payments to landowners who open their land to hunters through block management.
The Private Land/Public Wildlife (PLPW) Advisory Committee, chaired by Ed Beall, recommended the proposal to FWP.
“The Montana Block Management Program is arguably the most successful program of its kind in the entire west. Senate Bill 58 is the first step in securing and revitalizing that program to add value to Montana’s ag producers who do a tremendous job in this state providing habitat that benefits our wildlife and that we all enjoy and appreciate,” Beall said.
Sen. Hinebauch added, “One of my goals is to make landowners and hunters be one, and I think this is a great bill to do that. Montana is one of the best places for public access and we need this program to keep it that way for our people and hunters.”
The bill received strong support from the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association (MOGA) and the Montana Citizens’ Elk Management Coalition, as part of a larger package of bills for sportsmen, outfitters, and landowners this session.
Mac Minard, executive director of MOGA, and Marcus Strange of the Montana Wildlife Federation joined the governor at the event to celebrate the bill’s signing.