Senator Jon Tester Introduces Legislation That Protects Cultural and Public Access

Calling for the Permanent Protection of the Badger-Two Medicine as a Cultural Heritage Area

It is with great excitement that we announce the introduction of legislation by Senator Jon Tester, calling for the permanent protection of the Badger-Two Medicine as a Cultural Heritage Area.

As you know, the Badger is one of the wildest, most wildlife-rich regions of the continental United States and is the only part of the Rocky Mountain Front that hasn’t been

legislatively protected. The Badger provides hunters and anglers with a truly wild, backcountry experience. The watersheds provide critical habitat for native trout, and for time immemorial, hunters have been coming to the region to pursue elk, mountain goat, and moose. The next generation should have the same opportunity hunters and anglers of the past have had to experience this special place. 

The permanent protection proposal for the Badger is an important step toward ensuring that traditional land-uses are protected. The Cultural Heritage Area designation will: 

  1. Protect and enhance public access, wildlife, and habitat. Hunting and angling opportunities will remain unchanged.
  2. Celebrate and safeguard cultural and traditional uses of the area and guarantee Blackfeet’s existing treaty rights will be honored.
  3. Establish a formal Tribal consultation with the U.S. Forest Service, allowing the Blackfeet Nation to contribute to future management decisions.
  4. Create a diverse citizen advisory group made up of tribal and non-tribal stakeholders, to help the U.S. Forest Service develop long-term management guidelines for the area.
  5. Provide job opportunities to conduct trail maintenance and other contracted forest work.
  6. Continue non-commercial timber harvest for forest health, wildfire response, and private property protection.
  7. Preservation of headwater streams that are an important source of clean water for agricultural operations and communities both on and off the reservation.

Not only is this proposal the right thing to do, but it also ensures continued economic growth in Montana, where hunters and anglers contribute more than $1 billion annually to the state economy. It is time to ensure a future of certainty for the Blackfeet, this treasured landscape, and hunters, and anglers from all walks of life who care deeply for the Badger. While some places may change, hunters and anglers agree that some places are too special to be compromised.

Thanks for all you do for conservation, hunting, and fishing. You now have a unique and historic opportunity to help protect the Badger-Two Medicine forever, preserving hunting and angling traditions and opportunities for unborn generations. To lend your support, visit  www.protectthebadger.org and take action today! If you have any questions, contact MWF Program and Partnership Director, Marcus Strange, at mstrange@mtwf.org