OPINION: Vote public lands and waters.

Here in Missoula County, sportsmen and women have it pretty darn good. But that’s no accident, and it’s no longer a secret. As more people figure out how wonderful our community is, our towns will continue to grow, and the surrounding wild lands and agricultural areas will face pressure as well. Our city and county planners are charged with leading this growth responsibly, but we, the residents of Missoula County, can help shape those decisions by voting yes for the new open space bond.

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As a hunter and angler, I know that I don’t need to preach to other outdoor enthusiasts in Missoula County about why open spaces and public access is so crucial to our way of life. But I do want to stress what we can do next week to conserve our lifestyle for our own and future generations. We must take responsibility and action to conserve future places currently supporting the wildlife and fish we treasure. Voting yes for the new open space bond will do just that. Here are two examples how:

Do you fish the Clark Fork and Bitterroot? The new bond would secure two already identified fishing access sites along these rivers…with more in the works.

Do you hunt in the Missoula and Blackfoot valleys? Projects are currently planned here that would protect wildlife habitat and secure hunting access, but the new open space bond will bring them to fruition. The bond also would open public access to inaccessible public lands in Missoula County.

Join me and other members of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers in supporting our conservation legacy by protecting critical habitat right here in our backyard – both for ourselves today and for those who follow us. Vote public lands and waters. Vote yes for the new open space bond on Nov. 6th.

Hannah Nikonow is the Region 2 Board Member for the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. She owns a home in Missoula with her husband, Dave.

About Hannah Nikonow

Contributing Writer at Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

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