Edgar Cedillo

BOZEMAN (KPAX) — Congressman Ryan Zinke was in Bozeman on Monday morning to introduce legislation that he says would make it harder for the federal government to sell off public lands.

“It's great. Public lands are critical to our customers, sportsmen, hunters, fishermen—all backcountry enthusiasts. Really, protecting public lands is paramount,” said Stone Glacier CEO and President Jeff Sposito.

Sposito — who was on hand for Zinke’s roundtable — said a bill like this is important for him and his customers.

“[It’s] critical to ensuring the future of our other generations have the same access we need to make sure that public lands are protected,” said Sposito.

The bill would make it harder for the federal government to sell off public lands.

“It protects 30 million acres from being sold,” said Zinke.

The bipartisan piece of legislation is co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Gabe Vasquez of New Mexico.

“What this bill does, especially on our waterways, is make sure that the federal government doesn't divest of property that we need for public,” said Zinke.

Zinke said this bill is important for the Treasure State as more and more people move here. He said outdoor retailers, guides, and conservation groups need access to keep businesses afloat.

“Businesses like this depend on tourism, advancing the outdoor experience,” Zinke said.

Representatives at the roundtable also told Zinke that clarifying public land accessibility would be beneficial to see down the pipeline.

“We’re honored to support this bill. We hope to see more legislation like this; I think conservation pieces are easy bipartisan pieces that we can get passed,” says Sposito.

The bill would now need to be introduced in committee.