The Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Project (BCSP) started a decade ago when timber, recreation, and conservation groups began working together to address land management challenges in Montana. The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act (BCSA) is the perfect example of what happens when Montanans work together. This legislation will create jobs, strengthen the local economy, and preserve our outdoor way of life for generations to come.
Sustainable timber harvest was a cornerstone of the BCSP, which established the Southwest Crown of the Continent Collaborative. Senator Tester then lead the charge to secure funding so the Collaborative could implement its important restoration work. The Collaborative stuck together through litigation and other challenges facing the timber industry and, to date, the Southwest Crown of the Continent Collaborative has retained or created 138 jobs and brought in over $19 million in federal dollars, leading to an overall investment of $33 million in the local economy. Having already achieved their stated goals, the Collaborative has committed to helping implement the other initiatives outlined in The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act.
The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act mandates that the Forest Service move forward on a collaboratively developed trails-based recreation proposal that will provide opportunities to recreationists of all types and help grow the local economy. The BCSA also builds on BCSP’s work by opening up over 2,200 acres to snowmobiling while still protecting hunting and fishing in the area. The bill also protects access to 3,800 acres of mountain bike trails, which are currently open under the existing forest plan, and provides the opportunity to create additional trails in the area for future generations of bikers to enjoy.
The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act protects approximately 79,000 acres of wilderness for future generations of people and wildlife. This landscape is one of the few in the lower 48 states with its original native species intact. This conservation proposal is largely based on the current forest plan, but more importantly, incorporates input from folks who live and work in the area.