MTPR

Montana Wilderness Association

Public lands supporters packed into the Capitol in Helena, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017.
Michael Siebert - UM Legislative News Service

The annual rally in support of keeping public lands publicly-owned at the state capitol today filled the building's rotunda with chanting supporters.

Organized by the Montana Wilderness Association, the event is intended to show solidarity among many different types of public lands users against efforts to sell or transfer federal public lands, or give management authority over them, to states or private entities.

The candidates for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House today both sought to make news out of their positions on control of federal public lands.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Montana Wilderness Association is hoping a rally on Monday will send a message to the state’s elected officials.

Kayje Booker is the Association’s State Policy Director:

The U.S. House took a vote related to public lands yesterday that has Democrats and conservation groups crying foul.

It’s part of a larger rules package that would change how Congress calculates the value of federal public lands when it comes to transferring them to states.

Groups Change Ad Strategies Before Campaign Finance Deadline

Aug 12, 2016
"Issue advocacy" from the 2012 Montana elections.
Josh Burnham

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Representatives from three organizations say they will either change or cease running issue ads that mention Montana political candidates ahead of a deadline Tuesday that would require them to register as political committees and make financial disclosures to the state.

Absaroka Range
Courtesy Rick and Susie Graetz

After languishing for over two decades in the U.S. House, a sweeping wilderness bill now gets its first shot in the Senate.

A $50,000 investment of state tourism money is being rolled out today. It’s a map-based website that highlights and guides people to more than 200 trails across Montana. The site is called hikewildmontana.org.

New Campaign Touts Benefits Of Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project
Courtesy Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project

Ten years ago people in the Seeley Lake area who were tired of constant fighting over logging and other uses of public lands in Montana got together to try to come up with a new, better way of resolving conflicts. They came up with something called the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project, designed to improve the health of local forests, and at the same time keep local timber jobs. The agreement also got consensus on protecting additional land as Wilderness. Wednesday evening, members of the Project are getting together in Missoula to celebrate their accomplishments over the decade. We talked about it with Zack Porter, a field director for the Montana Wilderness Association.
 


Montana’s new Senator, Republican Steve Daines, is asking Montanans for their input on how to better manage public lands in the state, but some conservation groups are wondering if he really wants to hear from them.

Rick Potts, who’s on the Montana Wilderness Association’s state council, is troubled by some recent Daines votes.

"I know my colleagues in the Montana Wilderness Association and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers as well, feel like they’ve been sucker punched. They didn’t see this coming."

A Nature Conservancy representative points out portions of the land that make up the Clearwater-Blackfoot Project in the Blackfoot Valley.
Christopher B. Allen

The non-profit Nature Conservancy has closed on an $85 million deal, to buy more than 250 square miles from Plum Creek, the nations largest private landowner. The purchase includes a significant portion of the Lower Blackfoot Watershed.

It’s a 117,000 thousand acre stretch located within what’s known as the Crown of the Continent, a portion of the Rocky Mountains extending from northern Montana into Canada.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation

The U.S House has approved a $585 billion defense bill that includes unrelated provisions to expand wilderness areas. The vote was 300 to 119.

The measure allows President Obama to expand America's military mission against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria. It now moves to the Senate where some Republicans object to the unrelated wilderness measures announced yesterday.

Montana's congressional delegation heralded the suite of included land bills as a historic, rare display of collaboration and Congressional bipartisanship. Some Montana environmental groups agree.

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