Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act introduced
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: July 7, 2023

Big Sandy, Mont.) – Following years of work and collaboration between Montana ranchers, recreationists, loggers, mountain bikers, and business owners, U.S. Senator Jon Tester reintroduced his historic Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act (BCSA).

Tester’s legislation, which is supported by 83% of Montanans, would create jobs, protect thousands of acres of public land, and ensure future generations can access the world-class outdoor recreational opportunities available in the Blackfoot River Watershed.

“As a third generation Montana farmer, I know firsthand just how important our lands and waters are to healthy communities and economies in the Treasure State,” said Tester. “From ranching and logging, to hiking and biking – Montanans rely on our great outdoors to make a living and make memories with their families, which is why collaborative legislation like my BCSA is so important to making sure that our landscapes work for everyone. After years of working with Montanans from all walks of life to craft this bill, I’m calling on my colleagues across the aisle to help get this legislation across the finish line so that we can create jobs and protect our public lands for generations to come.”

Tester’s BCSA is a multi-use proposal that would protect thousands of acres of public land, ensure future generations can access outdoor recreational opportunities, and strengthen Montana’s outdoor economy in the Blackfoot River Watershed. Specifically, the bill would protect 79,060 acres of wildlife habitat in the Bob Marshall, Mission Mountains, and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas, open 2,013 acres of currently closed land to snowmobiling, and protect 3,835 acres for mountain biking and hiking. It would also require the Forest Service to prioritize its review of future recreational trail proposals from the collaborative group, and to conduct a forest health assessment that will help identify new timber projects on the landscape.

Tester’s bill is endorsed by:

  • The Lewis & Clark County Commission
  • The Missoula County Commission
  • The Powell County Commission
  • Pyramid Mountain Lumber
  • MTB Missoula
  • Wild Montana
  • Montana Wildlife Federation
  • The Wilderness Society
  • Business for Montana’s Outdoors
  • MT Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
  • MT Trout Unlimited
  • Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
  • Dozens of outfitters, guides, and small businesses
  • And additional stakeholders across Montana

Tester first introduced the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act at the request of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project with the support of the local timber industry in 2017.

Text of Tester’s Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act is available HERE.

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