Baucus, Tester announce upgrades for Black Sandy State Park

Senators Secure Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant to Create Montana Jobs Upgrading Park Electrical Services

Washington, DC – Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced today that the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks received a federal grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to create Montana jobs upgrading electrical services at Black Sandy State Park near Helena.  Both Senators have been champions of the LWCF in the Senate and Baucus is pushing legislation through the Senate now that will permanently authorize the program and ensure it has adequate funding.

“This grant will help make much-needed electrical upgrades a reality at one of Montana’s most treasured state parks. This investment in our outdoor heritage also supports good-paying Montana jobs,” Baucus said.  “I have been fighting hard to secure funding for the LWCF to ensure Montana will continue to have opportunities for important grants like this one in the future.  And I’ll keep fighting, because LWCF helps protect our Montana way of life and preserve access to our lands and waterways so we can keep on hunting, fishing, hiking and snowmobiling in the Last Best Place.”

“Upgrading and strengthening Montana’s state parks and campgrounds is a smart way to create Montana jobs and preserve our traditions for our kids and grandkids,” said Tester, vice chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.  “Montanans will go to work making these improvements, and Montanans will benefit from this work for generations.”

The grant, delivered today, provided $55,000 toward a $110,000 project to establish electrical service at 29 of Black Sandy’s 34 campsites.  The upgraded utility connections will run underground at many of the sites, minimizing the use of generators and making the popular park even more enjoyable and accessible for Montanans. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which became law in 1965, uses fees from oil and gas leasing in federal waters to help purchase and protect lands across the country.  While the law allows for yearly funding of up to $900 million, the program has been severely underfunded.  Baucus and Tester have cosponsored legislation that would permanently fund the LWCF at the full authorized level. Baucus has also authored legislation in the Senate to permanently authorize the LWCF and fully fund it for five years to ensure there is enough money to protect hunting, fishing, hiking and snowmobiling land.  This provision has been included in the energy bill currently making its way through the Senate.