I grew up in Hamilton, Montana which borders the Bitterroot National Forest and Bitterroot Selway-Wilderness. The Bitterroot-Selway Wilderness is protected as Wilderness with a capital "W". What this means primarily in no roads and no motorized vehicles. The issue of adjacent roadless areas has long been a big issue in Montana politics. Roads in thw wilderness would disrupt the largest contiguous roadless area in the lower 48.
Now, Sen. Burns (R-Montana) is attempting to grant owners of very small dams in the Wilderness Area the right to build roads and use motorized vehicles to maintain these dams.
The dams themselves are largely relics constructed as WPA projects in many cases. The amount of water in question is very small.
My Dad who still lives in the area writes:
I listened to the press conference on this subject today. Burns' proposed bill is every bit as bad as described - nothing less than a massive land grab that would privatize 17 canyons in the Bitterroot Mountains. He is also thinking about introducing it a rider on the appropriations bill, thus attempting to slip it through without debate, public notice or involvement!
The bill can be found at: http://www.govtrack.us/...
What can we do?
Contribute to Jon Tester http://www.testerforsenate.com/
Call Sen. Burns and Baucus. If you are not a Montana voter, let them know that you are a campaign contributor.
Call you Senator.