Letter to the Editor

Decisions shouldn't be made for political payoffs


Dear Editor,

The paper firestorm over the Missouri Monument has somewhat receded. However, as usual, important facts have been ignored by its supporters.

First and foremost: In the 1970s, the Corp of Engineers proposed a series of dams on the upper Missouri. Many of us, including most of the ranchers, felt it should be free flowing. After much controversy, the river was designated “wild and scenic.” To accomplish this, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed specific legislation signed by the president. This specifically required the river – Robinson Bridge to Fort Benton – be managed to preserve and enhance its history and pristine values. Under the supervision of the BLM – a first opportunity for that agency, that I believe has done well. Campgrounds, grazing management systems and historical protections were developed cooperatively between agriculture operators, BLM and the public. All is well.

But – a dark of the night presidential proclamation brought monument designation with no benefit to the land or public over the “wild and scenic” designation. The only benefactors are the environmental groups who use such opportunities to raise funds from folks far away who have no real knowledge of the real issues.

It is alarming when land management decisions are made for political payoffs, etc. What a shame this great area has been tainted by such action.

John S. Gilpatrick






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