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Forest Jobs and Recreation Act

Montana's forest communities face a crisis.

Our local sawmills are on the brink and families are out of work while our forests turn red from an unprecedented outbreak of pine beetles, waiting for the next big wildfire. It's a crisis that demands action now.

That's why I wrote the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. It's a common-sense bill that will create jobs in Montana's forests, keep communities safe, protect clean water and safeguard Montana's hunting and fishing habitat for future generations.

The Forest Jobs bill is the product of the hard work of Montanans from all walks of life. It comes from hunters, hikers and anglers, loggers and conservationists, snowmobilers and trail riders.

It will create timber jobs by requiring the Forest Service to manage thousands of acres each year for timber harvest -- especially areas infected by pine-beetles that pose a serious wildfire threat to Montana communities and their drinking water sources. The bill also requires the Forest Service to put folks to work on projects that help repair our valuable watersheds and improve big game habitat.

The Forest Jobs Bill will also guarantee access for motorized recreation, hunting, camping and fishing. It will keep some of Montana's prized backcountry wild. And it will make sure that Montana's pure water will stay clean forever.

The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is a smart, home-grown plan. It is a result of Montanans working together to create jobs and to keep our backcountry and clean water an important part of our outdoor heritage.

I encourage all Montanans to take a look at this legislation. You can also sign up as a citizen cosponsor to do your part to put your shoulder to the wheel in the push to get this done.

Click HERE to join the team by becoming a Citizen Cosponsor of the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.

I encourage all Montanans to support this important Forest Jobs Bill for our future. And as always, I look forward to hearing feedback.

By working together, we will create jobs. We will create new opportunities for recreation. We will protect Montana's clean water. We will protect our communities from wildfire. And we will keep Montana's fishing, hunting and hiking habitat around for our kids and grandkids.

Jon Tester
United States Senator


Forest Restoration Jobs
Jobs in forest restoration are jobs that aren't necessarily related to timber harvest, but require similar "in the woods" work, such as road improvements and road removal, harvesting biomass material, wildfire mitigation, and cleanup.

This is a general term that refers to the overall management of our forest lands -- not just conservation, but also common-sense management of those lands, including responsible, timber harvest and recreation.

This term applies to waterways (streams and rivers) and also the sources of Montana's waterways (snowcapped mountains, springs, alpine lakes, etc.)

Watershed Restoration
This is "in the woods work" to strengthen and protect Montana's clean water by improving water culverts, fixing roads that are slipping into streams, improving drainage along roads and more.

Wilderness is prime hunting and fishing habitat. It can be National Park Service or Bureau of Land Management land, but it is usually Forest Service land. There are a few rules for wilderness: no engines, no wheels, no buildings (which protects the source of Montana's clean water) but guns, rods, and hiking boots are welcome.

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

  • Follows U.S. Forest Service plan for where timber harvest can occur (1.9 million acres)
  • Mandates that the agency harvest an average of at least 7,000 acres per year for ten years within those boundaries as part of a series of broader restoration projects.
  • Creates areas that the Forest Service must manage for recreation, including snowmobiling.
  • Solves the long-standing BLM Wilderness Study Area debate by following the BLM's recommendation to create five BLM wilderness areas and release seven Wilderness Study Areas. Currently those twelve Wilderness Study Areas are not official wilderness areas but have been managed as if they are wilderness. This proposal allows the lands not designated to be opened up to other uses, such as timber harvest and recreation.
  • Designates roughly 577,000 acres of wilderness on Forest Service lands.
  • Designates roughly 66,000 acres of wilderness on BLM land and releases 68,000 acres on BLM land.

Three Rivers District of the Kootenai National Forest

  • Follows U.S. Forest Service plan for where timber harvest can occur.
  • Mandates that the agency harvest an average of at least 3,000 acres per year as part of a series of broader restoration projects of at least 30,000 acres.
  • Creates the Three Rivers Special Management Area, which encompasses separate motorized and non-motorized areas.
  • Directs the Forest Service to conduct a study of potential ATV routes.
  • Designates 29,500 acres of wilderness at Roderick Mountain.

Seeley Lake District of the Lolo National Forest

  • Follows U.S. Forest Service plan for where timber harvest can occur.
  • Allows for collaborative group to guide large, landscape level forest management and restoration projects.
  • Puts aside an area for snowmobiling use until the next revision of the Lolo Forest Plan.
  • Designates 83,000 acres of Wilderness as addition to the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Mission Mountain Wilderness.

Bill Text and Maps

The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act

U.S. Forest Service Committee Hearing Testimony

Bureau of Land Management Committee Hearing Testimony

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Proposed Wilderness and Recreation Areas

Dolus Lakes
East Pioneers
Electric Peak
Italian Peaks
Lee Metcalf
Lima Peaks
Lost Creek
Mount Jefferson
Quigg Peak
Stony Mountain
Tobacco Roots
West Big Hole
West Pioneers

BLM Areas in Southwest Montana

Blacktail Mountains
Centennial Mountains
East Fork Blacktail
Humbug Spires
Ruby Mountains

Motorized Use

Roads and Trails
Winter Motorized Use

Seeley Lake Ranger District, Lolo National Forest

Proposed Wilderness and Recreation Areas

Seeley Lake Wilderness Additions and Otatsy National Recreation Area

Three Rivers Ranger District, Kootenai National Forest

Proposed Wilderness and Recreation Areas

Three Rivers Special Management Area and Roderick Wilderness

Proposed Changes

Sen. Tester proposes the following changes to the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. These changes are based on feedback he has received from Montanans since he introduced the bill on July 17, 2009. This is not an exhaustive list and Senator Tester continues to consider ideas.

News & Views

Tester's bill can break logjam on forest policy
Marc Racicot

Tester's wilderness bill deserves Montanans' support
Pat Williams

Collaboration behind Tester bill should propel it to passage
Ed Regan

A welcome change
Rick Bass

Tell Senator Jon Tester your concerns:

Sign your comment on next page

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Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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