Home > A New Era in Montana: Conservation Through Collaboration
A New Era in Montana: Conservation Through Collaboration
In working to gain permanent protection for the best fish and big game habitat on public land in the West, the Sportsmen's Conservation Project has learned that true conservation succeeds only when people in local communities work together to craft solutions that benefit everyone. Nowhere is our model of conservation more visible than in Montana, where in three different parts of the state, the SCP is building coalitions of sportsmen, conservationists, wilderness advocates, loggers, millworkers and motorized recreation enthusiasts who work to craft new proposals that provide critical habitat protection while boosting local economies at the same time.
In the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in the southwest part of the state, in the Three Rivers Ranger District of the Kootenai National Forest in the far northwest and in the Seeley Lake Ranger District of the Lolo National Forest, agreements have been forged – often among groups that just a decade ago met only in courtroom battles over forest resources – that will promote Montana's struggling timber industry, restore the health of damaged forests while protecting communities from wildfire, and dedicate new areas for motorized recreation. Best of all, these proposals have been combined in legislation that will grant permanent protection for thousands of acres of Montana backcountry, land that holds the headwaters of several of the state's world-famous trout streams and harbors many of the best big game hunting areas to be found anywhere in the lower 48 states.
Introduced in the U.S. Senate on July 19, 2009 by Montana Sen. Jon Tester, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is gaining support not only in Montana, but across the nation, as a "locally made" stewardship solution that clearly demonstrates that forest advocates from all backgrounds have more to gain through cooperation and compromise than in courtroom battles.
"The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is the headwaters of some of Montana's most legendary trout rivers – the Madison, Beaverhead, Big Hole and Rock Creek," said Tom Reed, a Trout Unlimited/SCP organizer who has helped bring hunters, outfitters, small Montana business owners and loggers to the table. "These clean water streams are priceless for fishing, irrigation, drinking and other uses. The bill keeps those waters and other waters in the Lolo and Kootenai National Forests clean and protects our right to use and enjoy them."
To succeed, this legislation needs the support of anglers and hunters in Montana and across the nation. Learn how this bill will benefit Montana's sportsmen and its local communities at MontanaForests.org.
Watch the video, "Second Chance."
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