A potential new bill called the Montana Headwaters Legacy Act (MHLA) aims to protect some of the country’s most cherished free-flowing rivers and the many businesses that depend on them.
Healthy rivers are the lifeblood of America’s outdoor travel and tourism economy. Iconic waters like the Yellowstone River support the fish, wildlife, and experiences that draw in people from all over the world. Those visitors in turn fuel a thriving outfitting and guiding industry, as well as the travel industry far outside the borders of Montana. The MHLA would protect these foundations of our Western identity in perpetuity by designating a swath of rivers in Southwest Montana as Wild and Scenic.
The federal Wild and Scenic label comes with serious benefits both to the rivers and nearby communities. It has been used all over the country to protect free-flow, water quality, and whatever values makes that river special, whether its recreation, scenery, fisheries, or virtually anything else. What’s more, it doesn’t hinder private property or water rights.
Montana is a prime candidate for new Wild and Scenic designations, both because it has relatively few river miles protected despite an abundance of iconic waterways and because those rivers are regularly enjoyed by visitors from every corner of the country. What’s more, the last time a river was designated Wild and Scenic in Montana back in 2017, the effort saw major bipartisan support – something all too rare in this age. The Montana Headwaters Legacy Act would be a major step forward, protecting just shy of 350 river miles across 17 waterways.
Romeo Bravo Software is one of over a thousand businesses that have endorsed the MHLA. The bill would safeguard resources that are vital both to a diverse swath of industries as well as the fish and wildlife of the iconic Yellowstone ecosystem. We have asked therefor Montana’s delegation to introduce and pass the Montana Headwaters Legacy Act. If this sounds like a good idea to you, you can visit healthyriversmt.org to learn more and take action.
Article courtesy of Ryan Cruz, Greater Yellowstone Coalition