“Public access to public lands is a fundamental part of what it means to be a Montanan,” said Governor Bullock. “And it’s my responsibility as governor to uphold this Montana value – now and in the years to come.”
Governor Bullock announced the following plans to expand and protect public access to public lands in Montana:
- To create the “Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation,” housed in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development;
- Create and hire a new position, a “Public Access Specialist” for Montana within the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, whose role will be to troubleshoot specific issues preventing full public access to public lands (as of today the position is currently accepting applications);
- Ask the legislature to fully fund Habitat Montana, which uses license fees to increase access to public lands but was recently frozen by lawmakers;
- Call on Montanans to solicit ideas about how to improve access to public lands throughout Montana by utilizing the firstname.lastname@example.org email address; and
- Recommit his unequivocal stance against transferring or selling of public lands.
In an article on the Governor’s initiative – Governor announces Montana public land access initiatives, John Gibson expressed some concern.
“John Gibson, who helped found the Public Lands/Waters Access Association which has fought to restore access along several roads across the state, said he appreciates Bullock’s attempts but worries that nothing will get done.
‘I come from a bureaucracy, the Forest Service, where you see a lot of plans and positions that went nowhere,’ Gibson said. ‘I think the governor is sincere, but he’ll be challenged at every corner by the Legislature.’ “