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Sen. Baucus Brings it Back – Heritage Act Reintroduced

PHOTO: Montana's Senator Baucus has reintroduced the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act - which would add about 67,000 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Photo credit: Lee Kramer.
PHOTO: Montana's Senator Baucus has reintroduced the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act - which would add about 67,000 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Photo credit: Lee Kramer.
February 22, 2013

CHOTEAU, Mont. – The Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act is back for another shot in Congress.

U.S. Senator Baucus of Montana has reintroduced the bill, which contains measures for weed control and an addition to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

It also preserves ranching and grazing without impacting current mineral leasing or motorized recreation access.

Choteau-based rancher Dusty Crary is a member of the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front. He doesn't see it changing anything – and that's the point.

"We simply wanted to put into writing that we want this to stay the way it is,” he explains. “Unless you do put it in writing, there's no guarantee that it will."

While Senator Baucus has said there is strong support for the bill, he did make some changes based on feedback – such as making sure the Benchmark Landing Strip in the conservation management area would still be available for public use.

Other concerns voiced about the bill focus on logging and limits on future mineral leasing and motorized access.

U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana was an original co-sponsor of the bill.

Jim Posewitz is a long-time Montana sportsman and local historian who thinks the bill will be viewed as monumental in the years to come.

"We stand in the position where we hope that the actions that we can take in a collaborative, cooperative effort, will be remembered a century from now as something that was quite important," he says.

Sen. Baucus also makes an economic benefit argument for the legislation – with more than $10 million being spent during hunting season along the Front.


Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT