MONTANA WILDLIFE FUTURE GROUP VALUE STATEMENT

HUNTERS AND ANGLERS HAVE LONG CARRIED MOST OF THE FINANCIAL BURDEN OF THIS WILDLIFE RECOVERY SUCCESS STORY, IN MONTANA AND ACROSS THE NATION.

Montana's amazing wildlife legacy came by no accident. Once depleted by frontier and market hunting and, in some cases, environmental degradation, Montanans worked diligently and intelligently to restore populations of big game species, native fish, and other wildlife. Hunters and anglers carried a significant portion of the financial burden of this wildlife recovery success story by voluntarily taxing themselves when purchasing firearms, ammunition, angling gear, and other equipment, and through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses. Other sources of revenue from the Land and Water Conservation Fund helped restore or protect millions of acres of prime habitat and provided access to public lands and water across Montana. Additionally, Montana's wildlife greatly benefits from habitat on the 30 percent of Montana that is federal public land, as well as the federal investment made in managing and conserving those lands. However, today, as the hunter and angler population ages, federal revenue declines, license fees increase, and new challenges emerge, advocates for scientific management of Montana's wildlife and outdoor access and recreation must secure new sources of revenue to ensure the future of Montana's nationally significant wildlife.

We, the Montana Wildlife Future Group, constitute a diverse cross-section of Montanans who care deeply about Montana’s wildlife and the responsibility to pass to our children and grandchildren a legacy befitting of our great state.

We think Montana’s wildlife represents an irreplaceable legacy that must be wisely stewarded to protect the significant public investment made in its historic recovery.

We recognize that Montana’s wildlife and relatively intact habitat sets our state apart from others for its diversity, completeness and health of its populations.

We support the scientific and cultural management of wildlife for all species indigenous to the state of Montana.

We see Montana’s wildlife as part of a “clean and healthful environment” protected by the Montana State Constitution.

We understand that Montana’s wildlife are part of the public trust, to be preserved for future generations of Montanans and all Americans.

We think public recreation and access to Montana’s lakes, rivers, and public lands must be sustained to ensure Montanans remain engaged in wildlife management.

We recognize the need to provide sustained and sufficient funding to ensure that Montana’s wildlife is managed scientifically and in culturally appropriate ways.

We think that all Montanans should contribute to sustaining the state’s wildlife heritage, as all Montanans benefit from the enjoyment of this resource.

We think the Montana public will support an effort to secure sustained funding for the state’s wildlife.

We, the Montana Wildlife Future Group, commit to working cooperatively and in the spirit of consensus to find a fair, equitable, and efficient means to sustain wildlife management, habitat conservation, outdoor education and access across Montana.

Adopted by the Montana Wildlife Future Group on 11/29/2018.

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