Ravalli County commissioners were forced to move the location of their meeting Wednesday morning as hundreds of public land supporters showed up to voice their concerns about Senator Steve Daines bill the “Protect Public Use of Public Lands Act” (S.2206). The legislation would strip protective status for nearly half a million acres of public lands across the state.
In Ravalli County, the Sapphire and Blue Joint Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) provide for unique backcountry hunting and fishing opportunities and key habitat for fish and wildlife. This secure roadless habitat is important for deer and elk populations that summer there and eventually migrate to lower elevations. More importantly, the clean, cold water that comes from these areas are vital to native trout populations and iconic blue ribbon trout streams like Rock Creek and the Bitterroot River.
At Wednesday’s meeting, over 50 people spoke out against Senator Daines legislation and called for a transparent public process to determine the fate of the WSA’s. MWF President Bill Geer said “This meeting and hearing should have been held by Senator Daines before it ever got to this point,” referring to the fact that Daines had not held one public meeting in regards to his bill before it was written.
Montanans deserve better than a Washington DC written bill that does not incorporate the voices of sportsmen and other outdoor recreationists. Take action today and visit www.ourlandourlegacy.org to see how you can help.
MWF Western Field Representative