Despite growing uncertainty for the prospects of a 2020 appropriations deal, the U.S. Senate just passed a bill with a measure that effectively sidesteps the bureaucratic nightmare impeding access to public lands on Agricultural Research Service facilities – with big impacts for hunters and anglers in Montana.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the amendment, which could lead to renewed public access to the Fort Keogh access site on the Lower Yellowstone River in Miles City. The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has worked hard to reopen this access site, and we would like to thank Sen. Tester for his advocacy on behalf of our public lands and waters.
For reference, the USDA Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory outside of Miles City provides the only reliable boat ramp on the Yellowstone for more than 50 river miles. The access point provides great opportunities for fishing and hunting in this stretch of river, and sportsmen and women from across the region were dismayed to see the site closed several years ago due to vandalism.
A lack of public access is the primary factor behind declining hunter numbers in the United States. Access sites like Fort Keogh that provide entrance to wide swaths of public land and water are vital to public land hunters and anglers, rural communities and recruiting the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. We rely on conservation champions like Sen. Tester and Sen. Steve Daines, who also voted for the measure, to protect and enhance these important access points. Please take a quick moment to thank our Senators using the action software below.