Montana skiers! Tell Congressman Gianaforte to withdraw H.R. 5148 and H.R. 5149
Congressman Gianaforte’s two WSA bills are scheduled for a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee tomorrow. Combined, these bills would strip conservation protections from more than 800,000 acres of public lands and are opposed by a majority of Montanans. That’s right, despite the fact that a recent University of Montana poll showed that a whopping 81% of Montanans oppose these bills, Gianaforte is moving to advance both of them.
Gianaforte’s bills, along with companion legislation introduced by Senator Daines, would eliminate conservation protection for 29 Wilderness Study Areas in Montana. This would be the largest loss of protected land in Montana’s history. Given how strongly Montanans support protecting public lands, it should come as no surprise that these bills were drafted without any public meetings or other opportunities for the public to provide their input. Included in Gianaforte’s bills are the West Pioneer, Bitterroot, Sapphire, Judith, and Big Snowy Mountains WSAs on Forest Service lands as well as every BLM WSA in the state, including the Centennial Mountains WSA. Those who have stayed at the Hellroaring Hut near Mt. Jefferson can attest to the quality of skiing within this WSA.
The Centennial Mountatins WSA is one of the few small winter non-motorized areas in the Centennials but it’s only non-motorized because it’s a WSA. Gianaforte’s legislation would open this area to snowmobiles, completely changing the ski (and hut) experience.