MTPR

public land

Rob Quist, Democratic candidate for U.S. House speaks during a campaign rally in Missoula on March 22, 2017.
Josh Burnham

About 150 people came to a campaign event in Missoula today for U.S. House Candidate Rob Quist. The Democrat called it a "rally for public lands."

Quist addressed the crowd on a warm, sunny afternoon, wearing his usual cowboy hat:

Sen. Tester hears constituent concerns at Helena town hall, March 17, 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester was in Helena Friday afternoon for an in-person town hall. You can listen to the full meeting at the bottom of this post.

Tester spoke for a little over an hour to a friendly crowd of 200 people at Helena Middle School. Town halls nationwide have become confrontational events for many members of Congress. Recently, Montana’s Republican Senator Steve Daines has taken heat for not meeting face-to-face with constituents back home. He hosted a so-called “tele-town hall” two weeks ago, which he says allows him to interact with more Montanans because people don't have to travel to participate in them.

President Donald Trump Thursday proposed a 12 percent cut to the Interior Department's 2018 budget. National Parks advocates say that cut could have devastating impacts on parks.
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

President Donald Trump Thursday proposed a 12 percent cut to the Interior Department's 2018 budget. And national park advocates like Phil Francis are not happy about it:

"It's what I call pretty pictures with music," says producer Daniel Dauterive. "It's designed to be a nice break from the world. We're not trying to teach you anything ... we're just saying this is a great park, and here's some great music, enjoy a half hour of letting go of the real world."

"Ninety percent of this program is showcasing what the vast majority of people don't get to see about Yellowstone," says Scott Billadeau, who composed and played the music for this movie.

Learn more from behind the scenes of "Yellowstone in Four Seasons" with producer Daniel Dauterive and musician Scott Billadeau on this episode of "Front Row Center."

Montana's Republican Senator Steve Daines held what he called a “tele-town hall meeting” Wednesday night. His political opponents have been strongly criticizing him for not holding any face to face meetings where he takes questions from the public.

Senator Daines says telephone conference calls like last night's allow him to interact with more Montanans because people don't have to travel to participate in them. He said that 10,000 to 25,000 people typically participate in his calls.

A group founded by a state representative claimed on social media that he was threatened during a committee hearing at the Capitol Monday. But others at the same hearing say they heard no threats.

Citizens for Balanced Use posted on Facebook Monday night that Representative Kerry White, a Bozeman Republican, was threatened by environmentalists during a public comment period on a resolution he proposed.

A birds-eye view looking north into the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Josh Burnham

At a ranch near Seeley Lake Wednesday, U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced he is introducing the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. The bill would protect nearly 80,000 acres of wilderness and develop a comprehensive trail plan to provide recreationists with access to the Lolo National Forest. This would include opening some areas to snowmobiling and protecting access for mountain biking.

Glacier National Park Entrance At St. Mary
Flicker user GlacierNPS (CC-BY-2.0)

The National Park Service learned yesterday that seasonal employees for the agency have been deemed exempt from a federal hiring freeze. 

Bill Aims To Address Checkerboard Lands, Make Public Lands Accessible

Feb 20, 2017
A map showing checkerboard land ownership near August, MT.
Montana State Library

Hard to access public lands have become a hot topic lawmakers are trying to solve at the Montana legislature. Senate Bill 262 would allow complaints of closed roads to go through county commissioners to determine whether or not certain roads are being closed unlawfully. The bill aims to address the issue of checkerboard lands, which wedge public lands between private lands making them hard to get to.

Job seekers with the U.S. Forest Service got a bit of good news today: the agency has been cleared to hire seasonal temporaries.

Seasonal temporaries could be considered the "face of the Forest Service" — they're trail maintenance workers, engineers, backcountry rangers, says Elizabeth Slown, spokesperson for the Northwest Region of the Forest Service.

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