At a recent U.S. Senate hearing, Montana’s Jon Tester promoted the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, a plan to preserve 79,000 acres of public lands.

“The folks who worked on this bill include those from the logging industry, environmentalists, conservation, recreation, and we came to an agreement on the bill,” Tester said. “All these folks have gotten together and compromised to come up with a made in Montana solution. In that compromise we’ve seen $19 million go into forest restoration, creating more than 100 jobs and over $33 million in economic activity.”

Tester emphasized the importance of the compromise bill.

“This is the same kind of area that powers a $7 billion economy in the state of Montana and 74,000 jobs. This pristine land is near the Continental Divide, home to grizzly bears, elk, moose, wolverine and other wildlife. It also empowers the community to keep the ball rolling on creating new trails for hikers, anglers and hunters. It opens 2,000 acres for snowmobiling, 38,000 for trail-based recreation including mountain biking. But most importantly, it builds a blueprint for future forest management compromises.”

Tester said the impetus for the bill was to ‘help keep public lands in public hands’.