Designated on January 17th, 2001 by President Clinton, the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument is a place revered by hunters, anglers, and recreationists alike. On the 22nd anniversary of the designation, the Montana Wildlife Federation has released a new video documenting the value of the special landscape.
Featuring diverse viewpoints including a local farmer and rancher, a small business owner and a hunter, the video explores how the national monument designation has enhanced the landscape, increased access, improved ranching, hunting, and outdoor recreation opportunities in the Upper Missouri River Breaks.
Originally deployed by conservation champion, President Teddy Roosevelt, The Antiquities Act has been used by presidents of both parties as a bipartisan tool for protecting precious American landscapes. A recent University of Montana poll showed strong bipartisan support among Montana voters for the use of the Antiquities Act in preserving our public lands.
“Montana’s national monuments are a cornerstone of our outdoor way of life,” said Frank Szollosi, Montana Wildlife Federation executive director. “On the anniversary of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument designation, it’s worth pausing to recognize and celebrate what a great tool the Antiquities Act has been for protecting Montana’s special places for future generations.”
Rick Anderson, a local farmer and rancher says the national monument designation has been integral to his operation.
“The Breaks are important to me because this is where I’ve lived my whole life,” Anderson said. “It’s the backbone of our farm and ranch. Without the river, our ranch would have no water. Prior to the designation, we had more trespass problems. Because of the monument, people are better informed.”
Small business owner, Haley Miller of Upper Missouri River Guides, is also featured in the film explaining how the national monument designation for the area is crucial to her business and way of life.
“The Missouri Breaks is an amazing landscape because of everything it has to offer: hunting, wildlife viewing, recreation,” Miller said. “The hiking is incredible, it’s a very family-friendly adventure. Whether you are a rancher, a canoer, a hunter, we can all only benefit from making sure this landscape only gets healthier. What makes it so important to us is that it’s public lands.”
Garrett Titus, Helena bird hunter, noted how Montana’s rapid population growth adds to the urgency of protecting places like the Upper Missouri River Breaks.
“Once our public lands are gone, they don’t come back,” Titus said. “Montana is growing extremely fast. We need to find a way to identify and protect places like the Missouri River Breaks because it allows us to experience wide open spaces and we need that and our future generations need that.”