TRCP Supports Forest Jobs and Recreation Act

Senate bill would sustain public-lands sporting opportunities, fish and wildlife habitat
and jobs in the forest-products industry in Montana

WASHINGTON – The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership has affirmed its support of Senate Bill 1470, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, legislation that would fulfill twin goals of sustaining traditional conservation values and fish and wildlife resources in Montana while upholding the forest-based jobs that form the economic bedrock of communities throughout the state.

The TRCP decision heightens the ongoing efforts by a number of prominent sportsmen-conservationist groups, including the Montana Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, the Mule Deer Foundation and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, to promote S. 1470 and furthers the TRCP’s aim of building consensus on natural resource policy issues affecting citizens in Montana and across the country.

Introduced by Montana Sen. Jon Tester, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act would sustain the economic development and recreational use of National Forest System lands and other public lands in Montana, add lands to the National Wilderness Preservation System, release certain wilderness study areas and designate new areas for recreation.

A letter sent to Sen. Tester by the TRCP reads, “This legislation represents a unique and sensible approach to resolve natural resource management conflicts by combining three distinct collaborative efforts – Three Rivers Challenge, the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership – among timber companies, recreation groups, sportsmen, and wilderness advocates to resolve natural resources gridlock.”

Bill Geer, director of the TRCP Center for Western Lands and a Montana resident, was quick to laud S. 1470 and the valuable public-lands conservation that would result from its passage. To illustrate, Geer pointed to data gathered from the TRCP’s Sportsmen Values Mapping Project, which captures sportsmen’s input to delineate important hunting and fishing areas.

“When a map of the geographic areas incorporated into the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is overlaid on the TRCP Sportsmen Value Maps, we see that every area included in the bill is ranked by Montana sportsmen as ‘moderate to high value’ bread-and-butter hunting and fishing areas,” said Geer. “These are the areas in which sportsmen in 43 clubs in 32 towns across the state say they want the hunting and fishing values retained in the face of development. S. 1470 would enable that conservation.”

“The TRCP has deemed the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act a solid collaborative approach providing substantial benefits to sportsmen,” said TRCP President and CEO George Cooper. “We are pleased to lend our support to Senator Tester’s bill and look forward to continued opportunities to work together with our conservation partners to guarantee the future of America’s cherished hunting and fishing heritage.”

The Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests will convene a hearing on Dec. 17 to further consider S. 1470. Representatives of the sportsmen’s community will be in Washington to testify on behalf of the legislation.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions
of hunting and fishing.