Montana Outdoor Business Owners Push for Wilderness Bill

Montana Outdoor Business Owners Push for Wilderness Bill

News Type: State, Federal Source: Montana Standard
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A coalition of outdoor recreation business owners has turned up pressure for Congress to pass protection for the headwaters of the Blackfoot and Clearwater rivers.

“A clean Blackfoot River is the cornerstone of our business,” Trail Head owner Todd Frank said during a teleconference on Wednesday. “It’s the reason people want to be in the Missoula area. And we’ve spent a decade trying to get this in front of Congress.”

“This” is the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act, a bill proposed by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, to give wilderness protection to about 80,000 acres on the current fringes of the Bob Marshall and Mission Mountains wilderness areas northeast of Missoula as well as designate recreation areas for snowmobiling and mountain biking. An earlier version had linked support for the Seeley-Swan timber industry with wilderness designation. But while the logging and lumber mill assistance provisions have come to pass, the wilderness additions have stalled.