Montana Governor Steve Bullock today signed into law a bill (HB5) which includes a provision to restore funding for Habitat Montana to protect and enhance wildlife habitat across the state.
“Today is a good day for Montana sportsmen and women, conservationists and outdoor recreationists,” said Governor Bullock. “Habitat Montana is a critical part of our efforts to maintain our outdoor heritage, and restoring this funding will ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect critical habitat and expand the public’s access to hunt and fish across Montana.”
The restoration of funding for Habitat Montana is a key piece of Governor Bullock’s Public Lands and Access Agenda, which underscores the importance of Montana’s outdoor recreation economy, jobs, and access to public lands. The funding is generated from sporting licenses, but the 2015 Legislature severely limited the program, and Governor Bullock made it a priority this session to correct that Legislature’s action.
Governor Bullock announced the details of the agenda last summer near the banks of the Yellowstone River, saying it’s his “responsibility as governor” to uphold the Montana value of protecting the state’s outdoor heritage.
“Public access to public lands is a fundamental part of what it means to be a Montanan,” he said. “And it’s my responsibility as governor to uphold this Montana value – now and in the years to come.”
In addition to restoring funding for Habitat Montana, Governor Bullock created and hired a Public Access Specialist for Montana within the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, whose role is to troubleshoot specific issues preventing full public access to public lands. He also secured funding to create the Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation, which will be formed later this year and housed in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.