This is a letter protesting Senator Daines’ bill (Senate Bill 2206), and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke’s betrayal of Montana citizens
Wilderness Study Areas have all been designated as places to be studied for potential wilderness designation because of their unspoiled wilderness character. It makes no sense whatsoever (except to the extractive industries), to open such a place to “multiple use” which would essentially erode, degrade and strip those areas of wilderness characteristics and make them ineligible for wilderness designation.
You cannot build roads, log forests, dig mines, pollute waterways, create a labyrinth of bike trails, and fill an area with the noise and smoke of snowmobiles, with the argument that these are simply “multiple uses.” It is dishonest and impossible to pretend that the things which led to the characterization and consideration of these areas as “wilderness” are not being destroyed.
Here in Montana, the economy now thrives, to the extent that it does, on the arrival of thousands of new residents, the businesses that serve them, and the millions of visitors who come to our state because of the pristine beauty that remains available to them through public lands trusts and magnificent national and state parks.
These people are awed by the vast ancient forests, where the original wildlife that are part of such a place still exists. They marvel at the clear, clean, living lakes abundant with fish, the rivers whose rock strewn glacial stream bottoms resemble a scattering of jewels, the mountains with their majestic craggy heights, and valleys verdant and filled with flowers. They breathe in our “Big Skies” and view for the first time the millions of bright stars that fill them at night. All of these wonders and the unique opportunity to live and breathe in such a place surrounds them here.
This place took millions of years to be what it is, if we spoil this, it will be gone forever.