House must act, pass Great American Outdoors Act
Our staff at Shine works hard and plays hard, and it’s painful to see them and our community suffering as a consequence of COVID-19. For their sake, and for the sake of businesses and workers across Montana, the House needs to act now to pass the Great American Outdoors Act. In Gallatin Valley (and across Montana) our public lands are one of our major competitive advantages, keeping our quality of life high, motivating talented individuals to live and work here, attracting visitors from around the world, creating and sustaining jobs, and keeping local economies buzzing.
Our core values at Shine are building vibrant relationships and growing people. We depend on a healthy, educated, engaged and passionate staff, and we always encourage staff to take advantage
of the wonderful outdoor resources that we have in our backyard. We depend on the region’s best craft brewers, many of whom are drawn to start their businesses here because of the outdoor quality of life. We depend on customers that are active outdoor enthusiasts — people stopping in for a beer and a burrito after a bike ride, a hike, or a day on the slopes or the river are the cornerstones of our business. If we don’t have amazing public lands to draw people in and keep them coming back, our future will look very different.
Passing the Great American Outdoors Act would finally secure full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It would address maintenance backlogs in national parks like Yellowstone and Glacier. It would keep our economy humming, our people happy and healthy, and our visitors coming back. For our businesses and our people, it’s time for the House to follow the Senate’s
lead and pass GAOA.
Bison aren’t cattle, should be managed as wildlife
I am 93 years old and I’ve watched Yellowstone bison be mismanaged by the state of Montana for over 64 years. Gov. Steve Bullock has the power to finally right this wrong and allow bison to roam freely on public land in the state of Montana.
Bison should be managed as wildlife, just like elk or deer. We humans share a biological ecosystem with all other life, including bison, and it is both unjust and unsustainable to prevent them from
being a part of the Montana ecosystem. I firmly believe that we could allow buffalo to range from Yellowstone Park into the Gallatin National Forest, allowing them to get the grass they need in the
winter. We can manage their numbers during the hunting season in a way that is both safe and controlled.
I spent much of my career advocating for bison — forming foundations, proposing legislation and acting as a voice for these crucial animals — but what I learned from all my years of experience
was that FWP does not control Montana bison, cattle ranchers do. Cattle ranchers have been powerful in legislation for decades, and they continue to be today.
Cattle ranchers use brucellosis as a cover for keeping bison off the public lands where they are currently grazing their cattle. They want it all, and they’re not willing to share. Gov. Bullock needs
to reform Yellowstone bison management today for the safety of Montana people, the health of our precious ecosystems and the restoration of these vital bison.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle Letters to the Editor 7/12/20