Tester Recognized as Champion for National Parks & Public Lands
National Park Conservation Association praises Senator’s fight to protect public lands, support for National Parks
(U.S. Senate) – In recognition of his steadfast support for public lands and America’s National Parks, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today received the National Park Conservation Association’s 2019 National Park Heritage Award.
The award specifically recognizes Tester’s relentless effort to pass the largest public lands bill in years, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which President Trump signed into law last month. That law contains several important provisions for Montana, including Tester’s Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act and permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
“Public lands are what make Montana such a special place to live,” Tester said. “I’m glad Republicans and Democrats worked together and made sure this important piece of legislation became law. Protecting our public lands will strengthen Montana’s outdoor economy and secure our outdoor heritage for generations to come.”
The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act permanently withdraws federal mineral rights on roughly 30,000 acres of the Gallatin National Forest and prevents proposed mines from expanding onto unclaimed public land adjacent to the Park. Tester worked with a coalition of local residents and small-business owners to craft and introduce the bill after a pair of mining companies announced plans to explore the option for mining around the Paradise Valley back in 2015. He was the only Senate sponsor of this legislation for nearly 20 months before securing additional support. A timeline of Tester’s work on the bill is available HERE.
LWCF has invested more than $540 million to support Montana’s outdoor recreation economy since it was established in 1965. Tester is the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation who has consistently fought on behalf of the popular initiative that Montanans use to increase public access to public lands.
Following passage of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, Tester has turned his attention to fighting for full LWCF funding. The proposed budget released recently by Trump calls for a 98 percent cut to the program’s budget.
“It’s an honor to recognize Senator Tester for championing this historic law that will enhance the National Park System for generations to come,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association. “Our national parks protect the stories that define and unite us as a nation. Now, thanks to this new law, we have even more places to enjoy the outdoors and learn about our nation’s history. We commend Congressional leaders like Senator Tester who worked with colleagues across the aisle and across the country in support of our shared national parks and public lands that their constituents, and all Americans, care so deeply about.”