In Greater Yellowstone, healthy rivers equal thriving fisheries and robust wildlife populations. Clean waters also help bolster a $6 billion recreation economy. With the region’s ecology and economy tied so closely together, impacts to one resource ripple out to all others. That’s why GYC is working with local business owners to protect more than 500 miles of Montana’s rivers north of Yellowstone National Park. You can help!
As of today, Montana has re-opened most of the Yellowstone River. Fishing, boating and other activities are now allowed on all but a 17-mile section in the heart of Paradise Valley between Emigrant and Pine Creek. This comes after Montana’s unprecedented Aug. 19 decision to close a 183-mile stretch of the river and its tributaries to prevent the spread of a deadly microscopic parasite that killed thousands of mountain whitefish in the Yellowstone River.
The recent closure to the Yellowstone has devastated the regional economy. We don’t need another threat to our rivers, and to the fish and wildlife our waters support. That’s why for the last five years GYC has been leading an effort to protect southwest Montana’s most iconic rivers and headwaters through the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. Created in 1968, this federal designation stops fish-killing dams, protects abundant clean drinking water, and keeps rivers wild for future generations to explore. We are working with business partners, landowners, and sportsmen in the Montanans for Healthy Rivers coalition to ensure streams like the Yellowstone, Gallatin, Boulder and East Rosebud remain free-flowing and clean forever.
We have more than 300 businesses and nearly 1,500 individual people on board. Through one-on-one meetings in rural coffee shops to theater-packed river film festivals with hundreds in attendance, we’re galvanizing ground support throughout the region for new river protections. It’s time to tell Montana’s Congressional delegation to introduce legislation to protect Montana’s last, best free-flowing rivers on public lands. Please join our coalition of Wild & Scenic Rivers supporters by endorsing this effort. If you are a business owner, lend the power of your business name with a written letter to the delegation. Whether you live in Montana, in the GYE, or out on the coast, make your voice heard. Please contact me or my colleague Bob Zimmer if you’d like to join us. Looking forward to hearing from you!
-- Charles Wolf Drimal, Waters Program Associate