Senator Tester Continues to be a Champion for Public Lands, Open Spaces and Wildlife

Montana’s public lands, open spaces, and abundant wildlife are the staple of communities across the state. Whether it’s hunting, fishing, hiking, or having access to parks, trailheads, or places to recreate, Senator Jon Tester has been a leader in securing critical investments that will protect Montanans’ way of life for future generations and confront the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. MWF and other conservation organizations applaud his leadership and the many victories he has helped achieve for public lands and wildlife. 

Senator Tester’s unwavering leadership to pass The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) in 2020 was recognized widely by Montanans and considered to be the most significant conservation legislation passed in the last fifty years. The full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and investments for our National Parks have already benefited Montana communities. 

Following the successful passage of the GAOA, Senator Tester worked across the aisle to pass the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill which was signed into law in November 2021. The legislation brings critical investments to Montana’s bridges, highways, public lands, and rural communities and also includes funding to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions along transportation corridors. 

The Senator’s leadership on local collaborative conservation has also been recognized through his sponsorship of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, legislation that would protect high-quality public lands and fish and wildlife habitat in the Blackfoot and Clearwater Valleys. The bill has enjoyed robust support from ranchers, outfitters, business owners and conservation groups since he originally introduced the bill for the first time in 2017. 

Even now, Senator Tester continues to support needed investments in conservation through co-sponsoring the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which aims to help restore at-risk wildlife species across the nation. The bill allows state and tribal wildlife agencies to invest $27 million in shovel-ready projects here in Montana to restore our grasslands, forests, and riparian areas so that our wildlife can survive and thrive, while also helping prevent species from being listed under the Endangered Species Act. 

We thank Senator Tester for continuing to be a champion of public lands and conservation, and MWF will continue to work with him and all elected officials in support of policies that help protect Montana families, communities, and businesses, fuel our outdoor economy and maintain the values that make Montana the Last Best Place.  

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Senator Tester was awarded by Montana conservation organizations for his leadership on defending the Land and Water Conservation Fund (2018). 

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Alec Underwood

Senior Policy & evelopment Director

Alec is responsible for developing and implementing MWF’s federal conservation advocacy and policy campaigns to protect Montana’s fish and wildlife. He spends most of his free time hunting big game and fly fishing Montana’s cherished trout rivers. He also enjoys backpacking, skiing, photography, and woodworking.