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Survey Finds Broad Support For Missouri Breaks National Monument Among Montanans

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in central Montana
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in central Montana

A new survey suggests broad support for central Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.

The poll comes after an April executive order from President Trump ordering a review of some two dozen national monuments designated since 1996.

The survey released Tuesday indicates a broad slice of Montanans want protections to continue for the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.

Commissioned by the Montana Wildlife Federation, the poll found 59 percent of respondents oppose eliminating those protections or reducing the size of the almost 500,000 acre national monument. 28 percent supported such changes.

The Federation’s Dave Chadwick says The Breaks was popular with Montanans long before it was designated almost 20 years ago in the waning days of the Clinton Administration.

“It continues to have overwhelming support from Montanans for protecting this landscape, and nobody sees any reason to be undoing it,” Chadwick says.

Critics of monument designation call it a federal overreach and an abuse of the Antiquities Act signed by President Theodore Roosevelt.

But 58 percent of the respondents to the Wildlife Federation poll said national monuments in general should be left the way they are.

Sixteen percent called for more land to be designated rather than less.

The May survey by a private research in firm was based on 702 random, live telephone interviews among likely 2018 voters in Montana.

An analysis conducted earlier this month by the Bozeman-based research firm Headwaters Economics found local economies surrounding 17 national monuments expanded following their creation.

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