Rivers are an asset to all Montanans. Some of the simplest and most affordable acts of relaxation and recreation take place along Montana's amazing rivers. Our rivers are also huge income generators, providing jobs for service employees, gear shop employees, guides; the list goes on. Many people in Montana receive all or part of their income from the draw of the rivers.
Sen. Tester's East Rosebud Wild and Scenic Bill brings long overdue attention to protecting Montana's rivers. If this bill passes it will be the first time since 1976 that Montana has put a new river into Wild and Scenic designation. Ironically, in a state heralded as the last best place, only 368 miles of Montana's 169,829 miles of river, or 0.2 percent of our rivers, hold this protection.
As a former river guide on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, I have had the pleasure of spending time along a myriad of rivers. While I can name various rivers in Montana that I frequent because of their proximity to my home that deserve Wild and Scenic designation, the East Rosebud is definitely deserving.
A few weekends ago my three-year-old son and I spent a couple nights camping along the East Rosebud. As we walked up to Elk Lake and beyond, my son looked at the high gradient, turbulent river and said, "the water is wild," and as we stopped at the calm lake, "Momma, water is soft." The beauty of this river is worth protecting for many generations to come.