Along the Gallatin River, Tester Introduces Montana Headwaters Legacy Act to Protect 336 Miles of Rivers in Southwestern Montana

Senator joins Montana conservation advocates and sportsmen to introduce the most significant wild and scenic designation in nearly 45 years

Standing alongside Montana conservation organizations and advocates on the banks of the Gallatin River, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today introduced his Montana Headwaters Legacy Act, new legislation to protect 336 miles of rivers in the Custer-Gallatin and the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forests-the most significant wild and scenic designation in nearly 45 years.

“[My bill] will ensure that our kids and grandkids can still learn how to cast a line in the Gallatin a few feet behind me, or take their families floating down the Madison on a day much hotter than this one,” said Tester. “…These lands and rivers that belong to all of us are the true legacy of the Treasure State, and without them we lose the centuries of memories, of histories, of stories that have been handed down for generations.”

Tester continued: “Now let’s get this bill signed into law, so that we can protect our legacy, and ensure that our rivers stay free-flowing and pristine for generations to come.”

Tester’s Montana Headwaters Legacy Act will protect some of Montana’s most iconic recreational rivers-including the Gallatin, Madison, and Smith-to ensure they are permanently protected from short-sighted special interests. The legislation is supported by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, American Rivers, American Whitewater, the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, and the Gallatin River Task Force.

Tester also thanked conservation advocates for their hard work getting the ball rolling on his legislation:

“This bill is special. Not only because of the rivers it protects, but because of the passionate work of folks like you that got it to my desk,” said Tester. “So many, whether they’re here today or not, worked their butts off to get this bill where it is, and I have no doubt that to them-this is personal. Because these rivers are in their blood. That’s why I’m proud to be taking the reins on it as we work to get it through the U.S. Senate and off to the President’s desk”

In 1968, Congress passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to preserve rivers with cultural and recreational value in their free-flowing condition for present and future generations. Less than one-half of one percent of Montana’s approximately 170,000 miles of river is designated as “wild and scenic.”