It’s not often you see the Blue Ribbon Coalition – an organization that promotes off-road vehicle use – working with the Montana Wilderness Association and the Montana Wildlife Federation. But the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project (BCSP) is that kind of project. Hunters, anglers, outfitters, guides, snowmobilers, ranchers, loggers, local businesses, county commissioners and numerous others have joined forces to cut through the contentious divisiveness that hinders public land management today and reach common ground. As Connie Long of Bob Marshall Wilderness Outfitters puts it: “This is a grassroots, made-in-montana, collaborative project.”
For hunters and anglers, that’s good news. The West Fork of the Clearwater River, the North Fork of the Blackfoot, Monture Creek, the Wild Swan Front, Grizzly Basin . . . this beautiful landscape and its rivers sustain wild elk, mule deer, whitetail, bighorn sheep, native westslope cutthroat, bull trout and an abundance and diversity of other wildlife. The BCSP will help ensure it remains that way, protecting and enhancing Montana’s hunting and angling heritage while also helping to maintain and create jobs in the forest and recreation industry and support a healthy, viable community.
The project has already resulted in the creation of 138 jobs, bringing $33 million into the local economy through forest health and restoration efforts, reducing noxious weeds, restoring streams and selective, sustainable logging. It also entails the creation and maintenance of about 2,000 miles of multiple-use trails and the addition of 83,000 acres to the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat and Mission Mountain Wilderness areas. In other words, there’s something for everybody. This cooperative effort will help ensure the Blackfoot Clearwater area remains a good place to live, work, visit, hunt, fish, hike, backpack, snowmobile, and otherwise enjoy. It helps keep Montana . . . well, Montana!
This is why the Montana Wildlife Federation (MWF) has supported this effort for nearly a decade and is part of the coalition calling for congressional action to make the BCSP official.
How can you help? We’re asking everyone who supports this effort to contact the Montana Congressional delegation – Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, and Congressman Ryan Zinke – and urge them to introduce and support legislation that will implement the BCSP.
“It’s a project we all agree on,” says Loren Rose of Pyramid Lumber. “It’s time to get it done.”
To learn more about the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project and how you can help, please check out: http://www.blackfootclearwater.org