Wednesday, May 17, 2017

MSA's National Monument Comment May 2017

Secretary Ryan Zinke
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

Dear Secretary Zinke:

The Montana Sportsmen Alliance is an organization of men and women from across
Montana—hunters, anglers, conservationists, hikers, river floaters, photographers and wildlife
watchers, to mention a few. We subscribe to and adamantly support the fundamental
proposition that our fish and wildlife, and the public lands and water that sustain them, comprise
the foundation of a magnificent public legacy, a public trust and national heritage found nowhere
else on earth. Woven deeply into that is the National Monument System. These sites and
landscapes, including Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks, by virtue of their designation,
allow Montanans and all Americans alike to visit and enjoy and experience those unique
landscapes, regardless of social or economic status.

We are very concerned with current attempts to alter, diminish and in many cases, privatize our
public resources. In this case, such is taking place through the thinly veiled “review” of sites
designated under the Antiquities Act. That law was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed
into law by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. It is part and parcel of numerous successive laws, acts
and designations that could be viewed in sum as America’s Conservation Constitution. It was
initiated with the vision and foresight of Roosevelt and many others, and carried through the last
century by presidents and congresses—both Republicans and Democrats— with the full support of the American people. It has not been without controversy but each time- including the case of the Missouri Breaks National Monument- designations have prevailed and ultimately proved to be the right thing to do, both important and necessary. Yes, the Act is 111 years old but it has withstood the test of time. And as the saying goes, it’s not good because it’s old- it’s old because it’s good.

You have opportunities in addressing the President’s Executive Order. You can continue on with
a predictable, biased critique of these glorious places, viewing them as “open to discussion,”
further wasting your and the Department of Interior’s time, not to mention our tax dollars, in a
losing effort to find loopholes and deficiencies . Or, you can turn this around into a celebration of
the remarkable landscapes and sites that not only distinguish and define our country and states, but are living testament to America’s commitment to Theodore Roosevelt’s magnificent
conservation legacy, both for ourselves and many generations to come. It is our belief that you
should take the latter trail.

Thanks for your time and attention to this very important matter.

Respectfully submitted
Montana Sportsmen Alliance
Leadership Group

Joe Perry, Brady
John Borgreen, Great Falls
Sam Milodragovich, Butte
Robert Wood, Hamilton
Steve Schindler, Glasgow
Jeff Herbert, Helena
JW Westman, Park City

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