Gianforte bills would open access to wilderness study areas

all right thank you so much Mike representative Greg gene Forte has brought bills before Congress to increase public access to Montana public lands MTN’s Banaras Babb tells us what will happen if these bills pass wilderness study areas more commonly known as WSA’s are lands that are protected from development but are not classified solely as wilderness according to the Montana wilderness Association 44 areas in the state contain important wild lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the u.s. Forest Service former BLM employee Rick waldrop says WSA’s were created in the 70s as a way to protect the land until Congress knew what they wanted the future used to be the wilderness study areas we’re not going to be with us forever but that Congress would do its job and make a decision based on the recommendations and all the work that was done these wilderness study areas have placed thousands of acres of land in limbo for almost 40 years so when I got a request from the state legislature and then letters from County Commissioners I knew I had to act to increase public access to our public lands GM Forte has introduced two bills to Congress that would strip around 700,000 acres of federal land in Montana Waldrop says if the bills are passed it would allow for lodging mining oil drilling and motorized vehicle use absolutely it could cause a problem we would we went and looked today at some of that some of the most unspoiled country left in the lower 48 I think and and certainly certainly a lot of these areas deserve some protection but others disagree fever head County Commissioners wrote a letter to GM Forte stating the beaver head County Commissioners believe that over 10 million acres of wilderness and national parks within one day’s drive of Dylan are ample in meeting ecological environmental and human needs for wilderness within this region we therefore urge the agencies to forego an agenda of adding acres of wilderness for the sake of adding acres to wilderness the Bills have made it through the initial hearing and will go through a markup before landing on the House floor in Bozeman Medeiros Babb MTN news as of right now these 44 wsas can only be accessed by foot or on horseback

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