MISSOULA- Hundreds of new jobs in Montana's forests may sound a bit far-fetched in today's economy, but supporters of the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act say it's possible if the bill passes in Washington, DC.
But according to a panel of business leaders, conservationists and timber mill operators the measure means more to Montana than jobs.
Advocates of the bill said during a Wednesday evening meeting in Missoula that it's also about a compromise that will ensure our forests are maintained.
"If there's no management of the forest, it's not healthy, but it also means we'll lose the last of our infrastructure and we'll never be able to manage our forests," Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss explained.
"If it doesn't catch traction and if we don't get the bill passed, that would be our biggest fear that we just have nothing going on on Forest Service lands," added Roseburg Forest Products Director Dan Daly.
The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, which was sponsored by Senator Jon Tester, would require 100,000 acres of timber harvest and also would designate more than 600,000 acres of wilderness.