EcoFlight flew with the Montana Wilderness Association over areas in Montana included in the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.
The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act of 2011, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester and co-sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus received its first Hearing this Congress on May 25, 2011. The bill designates 669,160 acres of wilderness and 336,205 acres of recreation, protection, and special management areas on three national forests in Montana - the Kootenai, Beaver Head-Deerlodge and Lolo National Forests.
The legislation would steer logging towards areas that are currently degraded, roaded, and identified as suitable for harvest by the Forest Service, and where insect infestations increase fire hazards near towns. Stewardship contracts would create jobs aimed at repairing Montana's damaged streams, fisheries and wildlife habitat while federal funding would augment the sweep of the restoration work. Federal funds on the Blackfoot-Clearwater portion of the bill is expected to create roughly 50 new restoration jobs.
The Montana Wilderness Association (MWA) has been working for years to protect some of the wildest landscapes in Montana. In collaboration with the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project and the Beaverhead Deerlodge Partnership, MWA has had the opportunity to work with Montanans from all walks of life to help form a new vision for forest management.