MTPR

Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project

CORRECTION: The orginal draft of this story said this bill would remove wilderness study designation to some public lands. The bill does not address wilderness study areas. 

For the third time in three years, Sen. Jon Tester held a rally for a bill he’s sponsoring to expand federally designated wilderness in northwest Montana, and allow some snowmobile and mountain bike use on public lands in the area.

About two hundred people packed the Kettlehouse Brewing taproom in Bonner over the noon hour to hear Tester speak at an event hosted by the Montana Wilderness Association. They’re all hoping this is the year the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act passes.

A U.S. Senate committee heard bills from both of Montana’s senators today. One would add wilderness protection to about 79,000 acres of land here, the other would remove Wilderness Study Area designation for around half a million acres.

A bird's eye view of the southern reaches of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Two Montana wilderness bills are getting hearings Wednesday in an important U.S. Senate committee. There’s disagreement over whether they should be linked.

Montana’s Republican Senator Steve Daines is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and is sponsoring one of the bills it will hear Wednesday. It would remove wilderness study area designations in five Montana places encompassing nearly half-a-million acres.

U.S. Senate Committee On Energy and Natural Resources

A bill that would protect 79,000 acres of wilderness in the Blackfoot and Clearwater watersheds has been scheduled for a Senate committee hearing in two weeks.

Tester Announces Introduction Of Wilderness, Recreation Bill

Feb 23, 2017
A bird's eye view of the southern reaches of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

At a ranch near Seeley Lake Wednesday, U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced he is introducing the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. The bill would protect nearly 80,000 acres of wilderness and develop a comprehensive trail plan to provide recreationists with access to the Lolo National Forest. This would include opening some areas to snowmobiling and protecting access for mountain biking.

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