Gary Bertellotti (Region 4 Supervisor)
Sonja Andersen (Lewistown Wildlife Biologist)
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
4600 Giant Springs Road
Great Falls, MT 59405
RE: Everson Bench Public Scoping
Dear Gary and Sonja,
The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers represents roughly 3,000 dues-paying sportsmen and women in Montana who advocate for quality fish and wildlife habitat and ethical conduct in the outdoors. Our Montana Chapter includes many members who hunt and fish in central Montana, especially around Lewistown and Denton.
Montana BHA applauds FWP for initiating the public scoping process in hopes of ultimately purchasing the Everson Bench conservation easement. We believe that maintaining public access to quality wildlife habitat is a sound strategy to ensure the future of our beloved Montana hunting and fishing traditions. Conservation easements, if carefully structured and administered, are an excellent tool to strike win-win outcomes for both the landowners and the public.
FWP has been a leader in using conservation easement in the country and we trust in the department’s ability to do right by the landowners, by the recreating public, and by our Montana outdoor traditions. With that, we’d like to offer our unconditional support for this important first step in the process. We understand how the process of securing easements works and the importance of due diligence. We encourage the department to take every step of the process with the utmost care to ensure the soundness of the contractual arrangement and to sustain the quality of the habitat and the opportunity it affords to wildlife and the recreating public in perpetuity.
To that end, we stand ready to assist the department with the necessary steps to see to it that the Everson Bench CE becomes a reality. This project will be a nice addition to the already impressive portfolio of sound habitat and access projects the department has spearheaded in its role as the keeper of the public’s interest and trust in fish and wildlife. We appreciate the department for its leadership and dedication to the Montana public.
On behalf of our members, we’d like to say thank you in advance and commit to being part of the process should the need arise at any point. Please don’t hesitate to call on us!
John Sullivan, Board President, Missoula, MT
Thomas Baumeister, Capital Board Member, Helena, MT
Doug Krings, Region 4 Board Member, Lewistown, MT