The Roundup -

Governor Introduces Public Lands, Access Agenda For State

 


Gov. Steve Bullock has introduced details of his public lands and access agenda to southwest Montana and the Bozeman communities, saying it’s his “responsibility as governor” to uphold the Montana value of protecting the state’s outdoor heritage.

“Public access to public lands is a fundamental part of what it means to be a Montanan,” Bullock said.

PK Kirwan, director of marketing for Wisetail, said, “From our perspective the public lands of Montana and the lifestyle they afford are a competitive advantage for our company. Access to public lands is a key part of our wellness program and a big draw for creative people who want to work in a fast-paced tech world while enjoying the outdoor lifestyle Montana has to offer.”

Bullock introduced the following plans to expand and protect public access to public lands in Montana:

• To create the “Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation,” housed in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development;

• Create and hire a new position, a “Public Access Specialist” for Montana within the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, whose role will be to troubleshoot specific issues preventing full public access to public lands;

• Ask the legislature to fully fund Habitat Montana, which uses license fees to increase access to public lands but was recently frozen by lawmakers;

• Call on Montanans to solicit ideas about how to improve access to public lands throughout Montana by utilizing the keepitpublic@mt.gov email address; and

• Recommit his unequivocal stance against transferring or selling of public lands.

“These plans are not only the right thing to do for Montanans and their families and future generations, they’re also the right thing to do for Montana’s economy and our small businesses,” Bullock continued.

“We’re grateful the governor is making public lands a priority in his administration,” said Brian Sybert, executive director of Montana Wilderness Association. “His agenda is a testament to how much Montanans value public lands and underscores just how important outdoor recreation is to our way of life and our economy.”

“Every Montana outdoor recreationist and thoughtful business person in Montana knows that access to public lands and water for fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping is absolutely gold for our state,” said Bruce Farling, Executive Director of Montana Trout Unlimited. “Gov. Bullock not only recognizes this, but he’s doing something about it with this valuable initiative aimed at improving recreational access and lifting the unpopular legislative hold on our Habitat Montana program.”

 

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