Proposed Initiative 191 would hurt river access

I have spent nearly 20 years guiding anglers on Montana rivers and streams in Southwest Montana. After 10 years as a guide, I became an outfitter in 2015 and have been operating my small business ever since. Montana, and its waters, are treasures.

My livelihood, like other fly fishing guides, is dependent on clean, cold, and plentiful water in our rivers to protect habitat. It’s also dependent on the access that Montana’s prized stream access law ensures that distinguishes our state from other states.

I am concerned by a proposed ballot measure, I-191, that could dramatically hurt the outdoor recreation industry’s economy, access to our rivers for all recreationists, and current collaborative river restoration efforts being undertaken by those who live and recreate here. I-191 would designate over 100 miles of the Gallatin and Madison rivers, plus their tributaries, as Outstanding Resource Waters, a designation only applied in national parks and wilderness areas.

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