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Baucus to Reintroduce Heritage Act

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Max Baucus is reintroducing his measure to extend conservation protections along the Rocky Mountain Front. The Montana Democrat first proposed the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act in 2011, but it failed to clear the last Congress. Baucus said he is again advancing the bill. The act would cover a scenic region where the Rocky Mountains meet the plains, stretching north of Lincoln toward Glacier National Park.

You can read more about the bill in a recent article of the Great Falls Tribune:

The legislation would designate 208,160 acres as Conservation Management Area, which Baucus refers to as a “home-grown designation” limiting road building but protecting current motorized recreation and

public access for hunting, biking, forest thinning and grazing.

Supporters of the new CMA designation say it’s necessary because the current status of the land, while largely protected now, could be changed in future forest management plans. They say the bill addresses the threat of future expansion in motorized uses.

The legislation also would add 67,112 acres of new wilderness to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex

“It’s not an earth-changing piece of legislation,” said Dusty Crary, a Choteau-area rancher who testified in favor of the Heritage Act when it was heard in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forest last March. “It says, ‘We like the Front the way it is,’ and unless you put it in writing there’s no guarantee it will stay that way.”

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