Recently U.S. Sen. Steve Daines stated he was looking at legislation to eliminate most of the areas in former Sen. Lee Metcalf’s 1977 Montana Wilderness Study Act.
This act has provided great protection for over 500,000 acres of incredible national forest wildland in western Montana, including the Blue Joint and Sapphires in the Bitterroot Valley.
I have had the very good fortune to have spent time both working and recreating in these areas over the past 30 years. When you are in these magnificent areas, you really understand the need to maintain good protections for wildlife, endangered species, hunting, clean water and the great beauty of the lands. Our remaining wildlands are precious — they are what make Montana so special.
To eliminate current protections is the wrong step. What we do need is to update the old studies of these lands by the U.S. Forest Service. Much has changed in the 35 years since the studies were done. Re-evaluation is the logical next step, not to abolish protections with no concern for the obvious adverse impacts. To eliminate the WSAs would only cause conflict, waste time and money, and diminish our heritage of beautiful wildlands.