Tester’s Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act Gains Increased Support

New Poll Shows Made-in-Montana Solution Building Momentum

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act is supported by two-thirds of Montanans according to new polling data.

The made-in-Montana, bipartisan forest management solution was written through years of collaboration between local ranchers, loggers, recreationists, and sportsmen and women.

Recently released polling data by the Montana Wildlife Federation shows that 75 percent of Montanans prefer this type of collaborative approach.

“The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act is a perfect example of what happens when Montanans work together,” said Tester. “I’m excited to see momentum building for our bill. It’s a common-sense solution to break a decades-long forest management stalemate and protect some of the most special places in the country for our kids and grandkids.”

Tester today joined a group of local stakeholders to highlight new findings on his legislation’s growing popularity.

Another finding in the poll showed that 85 percent of Montanans think that members of Congress should hold in-person town hall meetings to hear from the public about land management issues. Tester is the only member of Montana’s delegation holding in-person town halls.

“This legislation delivers on a promise made years ago,”
said Tester. “The momentum is clearly on our side. With over two-thirds of Montanans supporting this legislation it is time for the rest of the delegation to get on board and help push this across the finish line.”

In addition to preserving wilderness, Tester’s bill would open access to thousands of acres for recreation. The recent polling suggests that 76 percent of Montanans think that access to public lands is very important.

The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act would:

  • Protect 79,000 acres of land for the next generation
  • Prioritize development of a collaborative trail plan to provide recreationists with access to the Lolo National Forest
  • Open up 2,000 acres of land to snowmobiling
  • Protect access to 3,800 acres of land for mountain biking

Tester’s Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act has widespread support from local stakeholders:

“This project is really important to the community of Seeley Lake and I’m proud to say I know most everyone involved,” said Chris Stout, Superintendent of Seeley Lake Public Schools. “This is a no-brainer. What’s unique about this is you look at the cast of characters that came together and everyone wins. It also a unique opportunity for students to literally see government in action, grassroots movement in action.”

“This proposal is an example of how we should be doing public land management and we need to get it across the finish line,” said Dave Chadwick, Executive Director of the Montana Wildlife Federation. “The Montana Wildlife Federation is one of a dozen conservation organizations that support this proposal. We’re lucky that Senator Jon Tester knows how important this is and I hope that the rest of the delegation gets on board.”

“Thank you for carrying this bill forward Jon,” said Smoke Elser, a retired Montana outfitter. “When it’s passed I’m going to drink a beer to you on the top of Scapegoat Mountain.”

“There’s no question that public land is under attack,” said Ben Horan, Executive Director of MTB Missoula. “Whether you’re riding your bike, riding a horse, or walking your dog, it’s vital for the conservationists of today and tomorrow to protect our trails.”

A report from Headwaters Economics shows counties with public lands have stronger economies than those without, and protected public lands provide a much greater economic benefit.

Tester introduced the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act at the request of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project with the support of the local timber industry.

The forest management bill is gaining steam following a hearing in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where Tester testified for the legislation.

You can access a map of the Blackfoot-Clearwater area HERE. You can download a one-pager about the bill HERE, and the bill text is available HERE.

You can read the full results of the poll HERE.