Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Guest column: Tester’s Forest, Jobs and Recreation Act would benefit land, economy

By Dan Vermillion, owner of Sweetwater Travel Company and a member of Businesses for Montana’s Outdoors:

As Montanans, we all have a lot to gain from better stewardship of our national forests. We depend on our public lands for jobs, clean water, and outdoor recreation. More and more, however, it becomes more evident that few stand to benefit as much as business owners, even those whose businesses aren’t tied to public lands in any obvious way. As a business owner, I see our unique outdoor heritage as Montana’s competitive economic advantage.

To me, it makes good business sense to ensure that our forests can support thriving fish and wildlife populations. It also makes sense to me to put people to work in the woods restoring damaged landscapes and reducing wildfire hazards. To do that, we need a new way forward; past the conflict and gridlock that so often characterizes our debates over public land management.

The single best step we can take to improve forest management is passing Sen. Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, which is why I was among scores of Montana business owners asking our congressional delegation to work together to pass this piece of good, common sense legislation.