Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act supports local economy and recreation | Columnists

Our recreational economy is big business in our neck of the woods. The folks who

Our recreational economy is big business in our neck of the woods. The folks who come to Seeley and Ovando to fish, hunt, snowmobile or float positively impact all of us. The BCSA would add new, desirable snowmobile access in the Otatsy, which is a prized area due to its northeast facing steep slopes that retain stable snow much longer into the season. The Rice Ridge fire opened up new riding terrain in the area, and through funds with the recently passed Great American Outdoors Act, we can now do needed clearing of deadfall for safety and access.

In the summer, our streams and rivers are flooded with anglers and recreationalists, and the protections the BCSA would provide for headwaters streams like Monture Creek and the North Fork of the Blackfoot would be a safety net for the historic Blackfoot River. We’ve lived here long enough to remember when the Blackfoot was a scenic float, and not much else. Now the water is full of trout, which keeps anglers from all over eating in our restaurants and pumping gas.

Since the beginning, BCSA partners have worked together to deliver on joint goals and each other’s priorities. For Pyramid Mountain Lumber and other Montana mills, this has led to production of over 60 million board feet of green timber, maintaining over 150 timber jobs in our communities.

For many years we have continued to hold meetings and listen to our neighbors; everyone is always welcome. We are proud of this process by which ranchers, timber mill operators, outfitters, mountain bikers, business owners, wilderness advocates, snowmobilers and more all worked together, side by side, to create something where everyone comes out ahead.

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