On Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, Tester Calls on Congressional Leaders to Move Forward

Senator: “Now is the time” to pass landmark bill, protect Blackfoot River Watershed

After introducing the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act at a rally in Bonner this spring, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is doubling down on his effort to pass the landmark legislation.

In a letter to Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Joe Manchin, (D-W.Va.), Tester called for his bill to get a markup in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as soon as possible, so the Montana-made solution can move forward.

“For more than a decade, Montanans have worked hand-in-hand to create a long-term solution for public lands in the Blackfoot River watershed in the Lolo National Forest,” Tester wrote. “Now is the time to move forward with this responsible land management legislation that over 70 percent of Montanans support…this legislation is good for conservation, and it is good for business. Moving the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act forward will ensure that years of collaborative work from local folks does not go to waste.”

The result of a collaborative effort between ranchers, recreationists, loggers, mountain bikers, and business owners, the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act is a multi-use proposal that would protect thousands of acres of public land, ensure future generations can access outdoor recreational opportunities, and strengthen Montana’s outdoor economy in the Blackfoot River Watershed.

Specifically, the bill would protect 79,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas, open 2,013 acres of currently closed land to snowmobiling, and protect 3,800 acres for mountain biking and hiking. It would also require the Forest Service to prioritize its review of future recreational trail proposals from the collaborative group, and to conduct a forest health assessment that will help identify new timber projects on the landscape.

Tester first introduced the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act at the request of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project with the support of the local timber industry. He testified in support of the bill before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year.

Full text of the letter is available HERE.