Montana hunters and anglers rally behind Testers Forest Jobs and Recreation Act Bill

Tom Reed, (406) 599-1022
Tim Aldrich, (406) 542-3144
Bill Geer, (406) 396-0909


Montana hunters and anglers rally behind Testers Forest Jobs and Recreation Act

Bill would conserve vital fish and game habitat, and safeguard hunting and fishing opportunity for Treasure State sportsmen and women

HELENAThe Montana Wildlife Federation and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership officially announced their support of Sen. Jon Testers Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, a Montana-made bill that would maintain irreplaceable fish and game habitat, as well as ensure Montanans future jobs in the forest products industry.

Sportsmen and -women from all over Montana and across the nationconservation group Trout Unlimited has been working on the legislation for more than yearare now on the record supporting Testers bill. Other groups endorsing the FJRA include Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Montana Backcountry Horsemen and the National Wildlife Federation.

This bill has broad support from hunters and anglers, simply because it keeps irreplaceable fish and game habitat intact, said Tom Reed, a TU field director based in Bozeman. The bill is a product of thoughtful compromise and represents the best possible relief for Montanas long wilderness drought. By protecting habitat in perpetuity, the bill protects our rights to fish and hunt on public land in Montana for generations to come.

The bill, which would designate as wilderness some of the best fish and wildlife habitat in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Lolo and Kootenai national forests, as well as ensure marketable timber harvests in areas where forest health is an issue, will get a hearing in a Senate subcommittee next week, and could move to the full Senate for a vote in early 2010.

This bill, which strongly reflects Sen. Testers support of home grown Montana solutions developed through extensive collaborative efforts, would protect wild places, restore miles of currently impaired fish habitat and improve thousands of acres of habitat to support a rich diversity of wildlife species, said Tim Aldrich, president of the Montana Wildlife Federation. This is all good for hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiast, and it also provides a lifeline for struggling forest products businesses that are important in Montana.

The TRCP, which announced support for the bill this week, represents thousands of sportsmen and -women from all across the country who care about conserving fish and game habitat and assuring continued access to lands and waters for hunting and fishing.

Sen. Testers bill provides insurance to hunters and anglers of Montana, said Bill Geer, director of the TRCPs Center for Western Lands and a Missoula resident. It stands as an example of what can be accomplished when folks unite in an effort to resolve problems and challenges. By responsibly managing important fish and wildlife habitat and ensuring jobs for hard-working Montanans, the bill transcends politics and realizes the TRCP ideal of across-the-board collaboration in the name of conservation.