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Tester winning praise for new approach to protect Blackfoot wild - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Tester winning praise for new approach to protect Blackfoot wilderness

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Sen. Tester will introduce the new Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act next week. (MTN News photo) Sen. Tester will introduce the new Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act next week. (MTN News photo)
The concept of setting aside 79,000 acres for new wilderness adjacent to the Bob Marshall and thousands more acres for recreation and timber use. (MTN News photo) The concept of setting aside 79,000 acres for new wilderness adjacent to the Bob Marshall and thousands more acres for recreation and timber use. (MTN News photo)
Sen. Tester announced his plans in Ovando on Feb. 22, 2017) Sen. Tester announced his plans in Ovando on Feb. 22, 2017)
OVANDO -

Senator Jon Tester's idea of using separate legislation to set aside tens of thousands of acres for wilderness and multiple uses in the Upper Blackfoot drainage is getting rave reviews from people who've backed the concept for more than a decade.

Sen. Tester (D-MT) joined with more than 100 people northwest of Ovando on Wednesday morning to announce the new Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act

The concept of setting aside 79,000 acres for new wilderness adjacent to the Bob Marshall and thousands more acres for recreation and timber use has been kicking around since at least 2005. But previous attempts to bundle the concept with other forestry legislation has never gained traction. 

Supporters of the idea, who represent a unique collaboration of everyone from Pyramid Lumber to the Montana Wilderness Association and local ranchers are thrilled to see the legislation introduced in Congress.

"The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship project will produce immediate benefits. But it will become valuable as decades pass," said Lee Bowman with the Montana Wilderness Association. 

"Whether you raise cows, or cut trees or snowmobile or bike or whatever, all the reasons that we live in this great place. It's about neighboring up," added Ovando rancher Jim Stone.

Sen. Tester will formally introduce the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act next week. 

RELATED: Tester looking for new approach to push Blackfoot Stewardship plan

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