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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Daines reintroduces bill declassifying 100,000 acres of Wilderness Study Area

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines has reintroduced legislation to declassify Wilderness Study Areas totaling 100,000 acres in Montana. He has brought similar legislation that failed in 2017, and again in 2022.

This newest iteration of the Montana Sportsmen Conservation Act is a repeat of the 2022 version requesting declassification of three wilderness study areas; one near Great Falls in the Little Belt Mountains, the Hoodoo Mountain area near Lincoln and the third at Wales Creek near Ovando.

Daines said the parcels are not suitable for study area designations which only allow non-motorized recreation.

He has said he will continue to refuse to support U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, also reintroduced this summer, unless these wilderness study areas are declassified as general public lands.

Daines’ bill has had its first hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee but no action has been taken.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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