Montana has 42 Bureau of Land Management and national forest wilderness study areas. Just the mention of the names of these legendary, revered wild areas is enough to strike awe and admiration and the longing to explore by Montana’s hunters, fisherman, hikers and horse packers.
The Centennial Range, the Big Snowies, the Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn, Middle Fork Judith, Sapphire Range, West Pioneer, Blue Joint and many others are protected from development by being designated as wilderness study areas.
These important public lands areas provide clean water that flows from pristine landscapes. They support immense herds of wild animals large and small. These parcels of unique, protected, undisturbed wild country provide quiet and solitude, and are important to our $1.5 billion outdoor recreation economy.
I have hiked in some of these wilderness study areas, by myself and with my granddaughters. We have visited the Ten Lakes Area, the West Pioneers, the Centennial Range and others.
Unfortunately the future of these special wild places is threatened by our junior senator in Washington. U.S. Sen. Steve Daines has introduced legislation that would strip protection from 500,00 acres of wilderness study areas. He is apparently willing to sacrifice these pristine areas for his own political gain.