Thursday, November 28, 2013

Power of place

Posted on Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The news is beginning to break. As an avid Wilderness user this is exciting for me. As a new resident of Montana this is exciting because truly my state cares about protecting wild lands. And probably most exciting, as a citizen of the United States I am finally seeing democracy in action. Last Thursday in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act was marked up and voted on. The Senate committee, with a history of bipartisanship, understood after 30 years with no new wilderness in Montana it was time to add 200,000 acres of conservation land and 67,000 new acres of Wilderness.

If you have ever slept under the stars after hiking miles into the wild, or been hunting and seen all the wildlife and space Montana has to offer, you may understand the powerful effect the Last Best Place can have on a person. Even if you have only driven by and been astounded at the beauty composing the unique Rocky Mountain Front from a distance you can understand it too—this place is precious.

Thank you to Max Baucus, who has been adamant about passing this bill that appeals to all Montanans from conservationists to hikers to mountain bikers to hunters. Simply put, Montanans want this. We want to protect the lands we call home.

I hope this momentum pushes Steve Daines to realize this is in the interest of all Montanans. Perhaps it will pave the way for other wilderness inclined bills such as the Forest Job and Recreation Act. With the support of Sen. Baucus and the hundreds of Montanans who support this bill finally we are moving mountains in Congress in order to protect our own here at home.

Eliza Hazen

Missoula

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