The United States Senate has voted to advance S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act. Important to Montana, the bipartisan legislation would restore the Land and Water Conservation Fund and enact a mineral withdrawal to prevent new mining claims in the headwaters of the Yellowstone River. The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives where sportsmen and women are urging quick passage.
“This bill is the product of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle working together. Montana’s entire Congressional delegation have been strong supporters of LWCF and Senator Tester and Senator Daines deserve our thanks for helping to finish the job and advance this legislation through the Senate,” said David Brooks, Executive Director of Montana Trout Unlimited. “We will still need to fully fund the program, but permanent LWCF authorization will benefit hunters and anglers for generations to come.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is our country’s premier conservation, fishing and hunting access program, helping to secure fishing access sites across Montana and funding willing-seller public land acquisitions such as in the Tenderfoot drainage, an important tributary to the Smith River in central Montana. Also included in the package is the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, which would prohibit new mining claims on the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park, including the North Fork of Sixmile Creek drainage, which supports an important population of native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout.
“Montanans benefit greatly from this legislation, but sportsmen and women around the country are also winners,” continued Brooks. “Dozens of provisions create new wilderness areas, wild and scenic river sections, national conservation areas and minerals withdrawals, making this one of the most important pieces of public lands legislation in a generation. The strong bipartisan support for this proposal from Montana’s delegation and throughout the country is noteworthy and we urge the House of Representatives to act quickly to send the package to President Trump’s desk.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is our country’s premier program to fund public access, fish and wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation. Since 1965, LWCF has poured more than $16 billion into local communities – including $597 million in Montana – to provide funding for everything from public land acquisitions to developing local outdoor recreation sites.
Chances are that if you have spent time outdoors at a fishing access site, state park, local open space, or public lands, you’ve directly benefitted from the LWCF. In fact, when you float fish in Montana you’re probably using an LWCF-funded access site, since half of all such sites in the state have benefitted from this funding source. Unfortunately, LWCF is set to expire on September 30th unless Congress takes action to reauthorize the program.
Montana’s delegation supports reauthorizing LWCF, but they need to know that the program is a top priority for sportsmen and women. Contact our members of Congress and urge them do all they can to permanently reauthorize LWCF before it expires.
A phone call takes just a minute but can make a big difference, so call today. Senator Tester: (202) 224-2644; Senator Daines: (202) 224-2651; Representative Gianforte: (202) 225-3211
A big thanks to Todd Frank at the Trail Head in Missoula for the fun and helpful thoughts on fall fishing. As Todd shared on The Trail 103.3 radio river report this morning: “the rivers need you as much as you need that pfd.” Learn how you can help out Montana rivers by heading to the Trail Head for a presentation, conversation, and celebration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as other public land and water issues on Sept. 14. Listen to Todd’s river report, below, for the full scoop.