Baucus, Tester announce money for jobs

Dillon Tribune

WASHINGTON D.C.-  Montana's senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester late last week announced more than $33,200,000 from the federal stimulus bill they say is headed to Montana to improve access and services and create good paying jobs in national parks, historic sites and recreation areas in the state.

A day later, they also announced that Montana's national forests will receive an additional $48 million "to create jobs by improving roads, cleaning up abandoned mines and reducing wildfire risk on forest lands."

Baucus and Tester helped write and voted for the stimulus plan–which they call the Jobs Bill–earlier this year.

Projects will receive the funding through the U.S. Department of the Interior.

In Montana, the park funding will be used to update aging facilities, improve energy efficiency, repair trails and preserve historic structures in five National Park Service sites across the state.

"In Montana, we are an outdoors people, we hunt, fish, we go hiking, and we have some of the most beautiful land in the world- right in our backyards" Baucus said in a press release announcing the money for national parks. "This will help keep our world class parks in tip top shape, creating jobs, bringing in tourists and keeping Montana the Last Best Place."

"This funding is a sound investment in Montana that will help rebuild our economy by creating jobs and investing in our parks, historic sites and recreation areas," said Tester, a member of the influential Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, in the same press release. "These dollars will put folks back to work, which is exactly why I voted for the Jobs Bill."

The National Park Service sites in Montana that will receive funding are:

  • Big Hole National Battlefield, $620,000;
  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, $217,000;
  • Glacier National Park, $17,567,000;
  • Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, $126,000;
  • Yellowstone National Park (which is located in both Montana and Wyoming), $14,735,000.

The second press release state that Montana's national forests will receive $48,286,300, which will be used for the following different jobs:

  • Wildfire management and forest health: $7,221,300;
  • Wildfire management for state-owned and private lands: $9,152,000;
  • Abandoned mine cleanup, road construction, and other various jobs: $31,913,000.

The $48 million is only part of the stimulus funding Montana is expected to receive.

Baucus and Tester said they expect to announce additional funding for projects such as Forest Service buildings and forest trails in the near future.