Tester’s Bill to Create Jobs, Protect Thousands of Acres of Public Land in Blackfoot River Watershed Receives Key Senate Hearing

The Senator’s Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act will boost Montana’s recreational economy, protect access to public lands for future generations

U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s historic bill to create jobs, protect thousands of acres of public land, and ensure future generations can access the world-class outdoor recreational opportunities available in the Blackfoot River Watershed, received a key hearing this week in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Tester’s Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act, which is supported by 84% of Montanans,is the product of years of work by the Senator in collaboration with Montana ranchers, recreationists, loggers, mountain bikers, and business owners.  

“As a third-generation farmer, I know that Montana’s public lands are the beating heart of our state,” said Tester. “From fueling our recreational economy to offering folks the chance to make lasting memories with their families, landscapes like the Blackfoot River Watershed are central to our Montana way of life. I crafted this bill with the help of folks on the ground and my bipartisan colleagues to ensure generations of Montanans have access to the Great Outdoors. I’m glad to see this critical piece of legislation coming before the Committee and I won’t stop working until we get it signed into law.”

Tester’s BCSA 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 79,060 acres of wildlife habitat in the Bob Marshall, Mission Mountains, and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas, open 2,013 acres of currently closed land to snowmobiling, and protect 3,835 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’s bill is endorsed by:

  • The Lewis & Clark County Commission
  • The Missoula County Commission
  • The Powell County Commission
  • Pyramid Mountain Lumber
  • MTB Missoula
  • Wild Montana
  • Montana Wildlife Federation
  • The Wilderness Society
  • Business for Montana’s Outdoors
  • MT Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
  • MT Trout Unlimited
  • Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
  • Dozens of outfitters, guides, and small businesses
  • And additional stakeholders across Montana

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 in 2017.

Text of Tester’s Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act is available HERE.


Related Issues