Voices: Vote for public lands and true stewards of our natural wonders

An astounding 98% of Montanans say outdoor recreation is important to their quality of life. As we practice social distancing, our nearly 38 million acres of public land and our access laws are the envy of most Americans.

In addition to providing respite in uncertain times, our open spaces support more than 71,000 jobs and are the bedrock of Montana’s $7 billion outdoor recreation industry, the second largest sector of our economy. But public land requires the constant attention of its owners, meaning us.

For the June 2 primary election, we need to do our homework and cast our votes for true conservation champions. Not those who merely say they support public lands, which they all say, but those who mean it and back their words with action.

We need to dig into the campaign claims, do our research, and, whether it’s city council, the state legislature, or the U.S. Congress, vote for candidates who are truly committed to keeping public lands intact for us and future generations.

In other words, we should vote as if we own the public lands, because we do.