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Support Walsh's bill on scenic river

2014-08-03T00:00:00Z 2014-08-04T11:59:08Z Support Walsh's bill on scenic river The Billings Gazette
August 03, 2014 12:00 am

Some of Montana's best exports are our ideas, and it’s time we bring a great idea back home. Growing up in Havre, I had abundant opportunities to explore some of Montana's wild rivers. My love of wild spaces was born on trips with the Boy Scouts canoeing the Missouri river or rafting the Middle Fork of the Flathead River as a child. River experiences shaped my life. As I grew older, I sought out rivers for recreation and for work, instilling in me the importance of protection and stewardship.

On May 22, Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., introduced a bill to establish 20 miles of the East Rosebud as a wild and scenic river on public land in the Beartooths. The bill would prevent the construction of dams and major water diversions, preserving water quality and protecting critical habitat. The last time Montana used the Wild and Scenic River Act — a protection crafted 50 years ago by Montana's own Craighead brothers — occurred in 1976 with the protection of the three forks of Flathead River and the Upper Missouri River Breaks. Clearly, we are long overdue for protection of more of our free-flowing rivers. With hundreds of river miles still eligible for Wild and Scenic River designation across the state, now is the time to show support for maintaining Montana's iconic healthy streams like the East Rosebud, as well as promoting protection for other rivers like the Gallatin, Stillwater and Boulder.

Josh Olsen


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