Changes Made Before the Bill's Introduction
As a result of meetings with Montanans before he introduced the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, Sen. Tester made the following changes to the proposal put forth by the Beaverhead/Deerlodge Partnership. They are part of the bill Sen. Tester introduced on July 17, 2009.
- Sen. Tester did not use the Partnership's proposed timber harvest areas. Instead his legislation directs timber harvest to happen where the Forest Plan allows it.
This change was made at the request of the Wilderness Society, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Sierra Club, Wildlands CPR.
BLM Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs)
- Unlike the Partnership's plan, which only considered Forest Service lands, Sen. Tester's bill releases seven Bureau of Land Management Wilderness Study Areas to multiple use, while designating five BLM Wilderness Study Areas as wilderness.
The release of WSAs was made at the request of Madison County, Beaverhead County, Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
- Big Hole
Reduced wilderness acreage by 49,459 acres
Created National Recreation Area
At request of/to benefit: Beaverhead County Commissioners, motorized users.
- East Pioneers
Reduced acreage by 14,000 acres, using Forest Service recommended boundary instead of partnership's boundary
Adjusted boundaries to put trails outside wilderness boundary
At request of: Montana Mining Association, Beaverhead County, Highlands Cycling Club, Benny Finnicum
- West Pioneers
Changed wilderness boundaries and reduced acreage by 8,394 acres
Created Recreation Management Area
At request of/to benefit: motorized users, Beaverhead County
Moved trail number 313 outside wilderness boundary, keeping approximately 40 miles of trail open for bicyclists
At request of: Hamilton bike store owner, Montana Mountain Bike Alliance
- Snowcrest Wilderness Area
Added language to allow continued motorized access for ranchers to water infrastructure
To benefit: Snowcrest Grazing Association
- Thunderbolt Protection Area
Creates area to manage for snowmobiles in winter and bicycles in summer on the south side of Electric Peak
At suggestion of Montana Wilderness Association after their negotiations with bicyclists.