Norman McLean's grandson promotes preservation of Blackfoot Rive - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Norman McLean's grandson promotes preservation of Blackfoot River

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It's the backdrop for a literary masterpiece and a blockbuster motion picture: the Blackfoot River.
And it's currently the focal point of a project to preserve thousands of acres of land and watersheds that lead in to it.

Join ABC FOX Montana's Angela Marshall along 'A River that Runs Through It.'

It includes 74 miles of untamed waters that snake passed mudstone cliffs, where eagles perch high above, and why fishermen cast lines.

To the grandson of Norman McLean, the Blackfoot River is a place where memories are made and stories are told from one generation to the next.

"And I will be able to share my story with my son when he's doing some float down the river in 2050."

Snyder says that his grandfather's legacy and ours depend on the health of the Blackfoot River.
He joins a lengthy list of long-time residents and business owners, who are working to get the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act passed through Congress.

Scott Brennan is the Montana State Director for the Wilderness Society. He says, "We asked ourselves what we could do across these diverse prospectives to better take care of this river and the larger landscape and the people that depend upon it."

The proposal has three components: harvesting timber and restoring the forest, conserving wildland, and creating outdoor recreational opportunities.
To date, almost 140 timber jobs have been created; 130 miles of streams restored; and 2,000 miles of trails maintained.
Yet, Brennan says that the last of the two components are yet to be realized.

"The legislation, once it is enacted, would permanently protect some of the key headwaters, like Monture Creek," Brennan says, "And add protections to the North Fork of the Blackfoot and a number of other drainages."

It would create four new additions to the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat and Mission Mountain Wilderness areas.
Plus, it would add two new recreation areas for biking and snowmobiling near Ovando.

"Norman McLean once said, 'All things merge into one,' ABC FOX Montana's Angela Marshall says. "And that's where the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Project culminates, along the Blackfoot River, so that people like you and I can continue to do activities like fly fishing."

Snyder says, "It's a gift to all of us,"

It's a pastime Snyder remembers with his grandfather.

And he add, "It's a precious thing that you are preserving."

Members of the Flathead-Lolo-Bitterroot Citizen Task Force have expressed concerns that the proposed recreational areas could increase human-grizzly bear conflicts. ABC FOX Montana reached out to the group for additional comment, without a response at this time.

Congress is expected to review the legislation before the end of the year.

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