Back the Front

I’ve spent a lot of time up on the Rocky Mountain Front and without a doubt; it’s my favorite place in the state. Those big limestone reefs looming overhead as you work your way up the drainage looking for migratory bulls make you feel like an insignificant speck in the eye of the world. The wind whips your face as you scan across the coulee looking for that monster muley buck to walk out like a monarch and chase his harem around. Wolves slink through the timber as they look for their next meal and the Grizzly bear knows your every move, hoping that you leave behind a pile for him to chew on instead of you.

It’s wild on the Front. Wilder than most anywhere else.

The Front is a place that deserves protection, that’s why in a few hours I’ll point the truck north, and head up to Congressman Steve Daine’s listening session. It’s the 10th listening session on the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act. That’s okay because sunlight is a great disinfectant.

The Heritage Act was crafted by folks who live along the Rocky Mountain Front and know that land better than any cartographer or weekend warrior like myself. Ranchers, farmers, taxidermists, outfitters, hunters, teachers and construction workers came together and because they so love this place, they worked across some fairly large ideological divides to devise a plan that would ensure the future of not only the public lands encompassed within the Heritage Act, but the lives of those who live and work along the Backbone of the World.

The Heritage Act is truly unique. It establishes a new designation for public lands: A Conservation Management Area. This has never been done before. The idea was simple: Things work well under the current travel management plan, so let’s use that as a framework for the bill.

Places that deserve wilderness protection will be protected under designated Wilderness. Places that deserve to be protected with their current uses will be placed under the CMA. The third level of protection is perhaps the most important: The Heritage Act makes the US Forest Service place a high priority on Noxious Weeds. That’s a good thing, and it expands on the great work already underway with the Forest Service and local weed working groups like the Rocky Mountain Front Weed Roundtable.

The act is home-grown. Yes it has detractors, but as Winston Churchill once said: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

Stand up and help protect the Rocky Mountain Front. Send a short note to Congressman Daine’s staff and let them know that your hunting, your wildlife and your public lands and the way of life that has helped ensure that the Rocky Mountain Front remains the way it is deserve to be protected in perpetuity.
You can send your comment to Congressman Steve Daines, care of Erin Gabrian at Erin.Gabrian@mail.house.gov

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Hellgate Hunters and Anglers
Our Mission is to conserve Montana's wildlife, wild places, and fair-chase hunting and fishing heritage.