As an avid hunter and outdoorsman, I am blessed to call the bank of the great Yellowstone River outside Glendive my home. As much as I enjoy hunting the abundant wildlife along the river bottom, my wife and I also take great pleasure in sharing the hunting opportunities on our ranch with so many from our community each year. We understand that community service and shared enjoyment of our great lands is the true Montana tradition.
These values motivate me as a member of the State Land Board, where I’m responsible for managing and expanding access to over 5 million acres of school trust lands. I’ve worked diligently to grant easements and authorize land purchases to nearly 45,000 acres of previously hard-to-reach public lands that are now accessible for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities for generations of Montanans to come.
Our federal lawmakers can also help preserve the pristine beauty of our great outdoors, protect our public lands and responsibly develop our natural resources by evaluating each case on its own merits, just like I do on the Land Board.
For example, I support the Forest Service’s recommendation to designate the East Rosebud Creek as wild and scenic. There is strong support from the community and local landowners, and I’m committed to ensuring this creek remains free flowing and protected from development.
Paradise Valley is another truly magnificent place where the local community has expressed their near-unanimous opposition to mining on the public lands in this area. I agree with them: Not every place is right for a mine and this is one of those areas.
With regards to the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, I believe it lacks a balanced approach. It designates 79,000 acres as new wilderness while only opening up 6,000 acres for recreation.
Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte have proposed separate bills to release Wilderness Study Areas that the Forest Service and BLM determined – decades ago – were not suitable for wilderness. These bills allow public input on easing restrictions for recreational uses, while also ensuring these lands are protected from development and resource extraction. This is a fair approach.
We must also end the misguided policy of letting our forests burn. If we allow responsible management of our forests and end the nonsense litigation from radical environmental groups, we can get our timber mills up and running, reduce the risk of wildfires, and ensure healthier forests and cleaner air. That’s a success!
I’ve listened to the people of Montana and they mean business about protecting our public lands, opposing a federal lands transfer, and responsibly expanding access and recreational opportunities – and I completely agree. As your next U.S. senator, I mean business too, and when the false attacks start and the special interests try to manipulate my record – make no mistake – I will always fight to protect and defend our public lands.