Anglers agree: Don't mine Yellowstone

Prominent fly-fishing magazines this winter have been covering our fight to keep job-killing gold mines away from the Yellowstone River. We couldn't be more pleased that these publications are highlighting this issue -- it's critical that every angler who fishes the Yellowstone knows what's at stake.

 This photo from The Drake magazine's Winter 2017 issue shows a billboard supporting the fight against two proposed gold mines at Yellowstone's gateway. (Photo courtesy Jesse Robbins.)

This photo from The Drake magazine's Winter 2017 issue shows a billboard supporting the fight against two proposed gold mines at Yellowstone's gateway. (Photo courtesy Jesse Robbins.)

The winter issue of The Drake featured “Yellowstoned,” an anglers perspective on how local business owners are banding together to protect the Yellowstone River from ill-planned mining proposals nearby. You almost feel like you’ve spent a day on the river after reading details of what makes this river so special to fish. And you can understand why this last wild river in the lower 48 is simply not worth risking.

Because of this wildness, the Yellowstone is unpredictable and challenging. Rarely does tomorrow fish like today. Hatches are localized, and will move from one morning to the next. Miles-long mud-plugs frequently make their way through the system, sending guides and anglers up or downstream, chasing clearer water. A day fishing the Yellowstone is an immersion in and acknowledgement of the ecosystem that surrounds it — sandhill cranes overhead, a whitetail deer in the willows, the last light slipping off the 10,000-foot peaks of the Absarokas.
— Jesse Robbins, The Drake (Winter 2017)
 Ed Anderson's gorgeous illustration showing what's at stake on the Yellowstone was also featured in The Drake. (Courtesy Ed Anderson.)

Ed Anderson's gorgeous illustration showing what's at stake on the Yellowstone was also featured in The Drake. (Courtesy Ed Anderson.)

Anglers in the valley are some of the most outspoken supporters of the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, a bi-partisan bill in the House and Senate that will protect our public lands north of Yellowstone from mining, forever. Hundreds of additional locals support the bill as well. So why can’t we get it across the finish line? The article describes a tricky political balance at play with the remaining holdout in Montana's delegation -- Sen. Steve Daines:

Senator Daines has said, “I support efforts for permanent withdrawal.” Yet he won’t support the current Senate bill. Why? Rivers don’t respond to posturing; either you’re for protecting it, or you’re not.

Anglers from around the country hope, and are beginning to demand, that these elected officials take their responsibility seriously. They hold the key to ensuring that our beloved Yellowstone doesn’t end up like so many other rivers we know, with unhealthy fish and depleted fisheries.
— Jesse Robbins, The Drake (Winter 2017)

Fly Fisherman magazine also covered the threats to the Yellowstone in "Liquid Gold," a feature in its February-March issue, as did Hatch magazine's website, in "Pebble isn't the only mine you need to know about." A big thank you to all three of these publications for shining a light on this issue for their readers!

GYC stands with the anglers of Paradise Valley -- those who live in Greater Yellowstone, as well as those who travel from all over the country to try their hand at our renowned trout fisheries. This is no place for a gold mine. Call Sen. Daines today at (202) 224-2651 and let him know you'd like his support to move the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act through Congress. It's a win for all Montanans, and it's a win for anglers both in Montana and around the country. Make the call to Sen. Daines. I'll see you on the river this summer.

-- Liz Purdy, Yellowstone Gateway Campaign Organizer