Coalition Unveils Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act
Choteau, MT – The Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front today unveiled a draft plan proposing a new comprehensive approach for managing public lands along the Rocky Mountain Front.
The proposal, termed the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, was developed through three years of meetings and negotiations with ranchers, sportsmen, private landowners, weed experts and conservation groups and encompasses roughly 400,000 acres of public land south of Birch Creek/Swift Reservoir.
The coalition says it is a crucial time to explore legislative options that could buffer ranchers and wildlife from the impacts of noxious weed, safeguard traditional access to renowned hunting and fishing areas, and help protect a way of life.
The unveiling marks the next step in the process of soliciting public input for this grassroots proposal; which would eventually include congressional direction and tools to help control noxious weeds, would create a unique landscape protection designation for the majority of the public lands called a ‘Conservation Management Area,’ as well as make common-sense additions to the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex.
Over the next few weeks, the coalition will exhibit the proposal at four separate community presentations in Great Falls, Helena, Choteau, and Augusta. Montanan’s can also view and provide feedback for the draft proposal at the coalition’s website www.savethefront.org.
“I truly believe that the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage proposal is one of the most thoroughly thought out plans I have ever seen,” said Roy Jacobs, a local business owner from Pendroy. “It doesn’t offend anyone or any group in any way. It truly leaves one of the world’s grandest remaining landscapes intact for future generations to experience and enjoy.”
“The Front has some of the very best wildlife habitat in the world. Elk, deer and bighorn sheep herds along the Front are legendary. This proposal helps maintain our hunting and fishing heritage on the Front, while protecting this unique and magnificent landscape,” said Joe Perry, a farmer and hunter from Brady, MT.
“As I watch our public lands slowly being consumed by noxious weeds, I cringe. We cannot wait until elk and deer have no food source, fish have no clear water and our native plants have nowhere to grow. This is not an acceptable long range vision for our public lands. We must act, and act now. The Rocky Mountain Heritage Act is a step towards recognizing a major threat, placing a high priority on the noxious weed problem, and finding a solution,” said Paul Wick a Teton County Weed District Coordinator.
“The Rocky Mountain Front offers a window into the history and heritage of Montana—a way of life that is hard to find in a modern fast-changing world. I believe the Front symbolizes what’s best about Montana and it’s up to us to keep it that way,” said Chuck Blixrud, owner of the 7-Lazy-P Guest Ranch.
Find more information on www.savethefront.org.