July 19, 2019
Montana/Dakotas State Office
Bureau of Land Management
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101
RE: Montana BLM Musselshell River Access Acquisition - LWCF 2021 Proposal
Dear Mr. Mehlhoff,
On behalf of the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunter & Anglers, I'd like to offer our enthusiastic support for the Lower Musselshell River Access Project and Acquisition in Garfield and Petroleum County. Our Montana Chapter is comprised of more than 3,000 hunters and anglers from around the Big Sky state. Many of our members depend on public lands of the Breaks country, as do many other Montanans as well as non-residents hunters.
While 29% of Montana’s lands are public, too much of this ground is landlocked and therefore inaccessible to hunters, fishermen and other recreationalists and taxpayers. In addition to increasing the acres held in public trust for all to enjoy, this purchase would open thousands of inaccessible acres that are already public. This prospect is all the more exciting given the area’s truly unique landscapes, outstanding big game habitat and nearly unbroken wildness.
In effect, this acquisition would create a massive contiguous block of public land extending into the Charles M. Russel Wildlife Refuge from many miles southward. And for the first time since the homesteader era, it would allow anyone so desiring to tread miles of the historic Musselshell River corridor leading into the Missouri River. If the BLM and other stakeholders secure this area for all to enjoy in perpetuity, it will stand as an enduring testament to the value our society places on freedom.
Dr. Matthew Rinella
Region 7 Board Member–Miles City, MT
The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers