Secretary of the Interior Jewell to Tour Montana

By Beacon Staff

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will join U.S. Sen. Jon Tester on a multi-day tour across Montana this week, the agency announced Thursday.

Jewell and Tester will meet with local leaders and stakeholders to discuss issues important to the state, including the economic benefits of hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation and tourism on public lands, balanced energy development and upholding trust responsibilities to American Indians, according to the DOI. This will be Jewell’s first visit to the state as secretary.

“I look forward to getting out to Big Sky Country and having the opportunity to learn more about the issues that matter most to the people of Montana,” said Jewell. “I know that Montanans care deeply about their lands and outdoor heritage, and this state is a leading example of how public-private partnerships can produce strong outcomes for healthy lands and a healthy economy.”

On Friday, Jewell and Tester will meet with Tribal leaders and travel to the Crow Indian Reservation, where they will tour the site where the Tribe plans to develop a hydropower project as part of the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement. That evening, Jewell and Tester will participate in a public discussion at Montana State University.

On Saturday, Jewell and Tester will tour the Rolling Stone Ranch near Ovando, where they will meet with ranchers from the Rocky Mountain Front and Blackfoot Valley who are leading collaborative efforts to conserve the Crown of the Continent ecosystem and maintain working lands.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has played a key role in establishing conservation easements that preserve the area’s rural heritage and natural resources, according to the DOI.

The president’s budget requests that Congress fully fund LWCF at $900 million in fiscal year 2015 in order to support additional local conservation priorities across the country.

On Sunday, Jewell will visit Glacier National Park. Jewell and Tester will end the trip at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

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