Montana needs the Forest Jobs Bill

It’s time to get Montanans back to work in the woods. 

It’s time to create jobs by ensuring smart timber harvest, by protecting our clean water, and by safeguarding Montana’s hunting and fishing habitat—so we can enjoy our unique way of life for generations to come.

And it’s time to protect Montana’s forest communities from catastrophic wildfire, by thinning dead and dying forests that have fallen victim to pine beetles.  Right now, unprecedented numbers of beetle-killed trees are dead, waiting to burn.

The only way we can accomplish a task like that is by working together.

For decades, folks who had different opinions about our forests faced off in a stalemate.  But things have changed.  They realized they share more values in common than they thought.  So, over the past few years, they sat down together to build a better future for Montana’s forests and for the folks who rely on them and enjoy them.

After years of hard work, these Montanans brought their ideas to me. I was moved by their ability to set differences aside and focus on a better future for Montana. And, after hearing input from people all across the state, I wrote the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.

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.

The Forest Jobs Bill will create timber jobs through new, large forest stewardship projects.  The bill requires the Forest Service to manage a certain number 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 restoration 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.  And it will guarantee that Montana’s pure water will stay clean forever.

The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is a smart, home-grown solution.  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.

As always, let me know what you think of the Forest Jobs Bill.  Introducing the bill is the first step in its journey through Congress.

We are at the beginning of that process, not the end.  I encourage all Montanans to read the details of the Forest Jobs Bill for themselves.

You can find updated information, including the entire text of the bill and maps, on my website,  You can even become a citizen cosponsor.  And I encourage you to do so, because it will show the rest of the country that this legislation has the support it deserves moving forward.


U.S. Senator Jon Tester is a third-generation farmer from Big Sandy.