Daines Delivers Historic Conservation Win for Montana

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today joined President Trump at a bill signing ceremony at the White House for a bill signing ceremony of the bipartisan public lands package, which includes the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.

“What a great day for Montana, a great day for America,” Daines said. “I just came back from the West Wing of the White House, the Oval Office, where I witnessed President Trump sign the lands package. In fact, here’s one of the pens from the signing ceremony that I keep as a souvenir. This permanently reauthorizes LWCF and signs into law the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, protecting a very important part of Montana there in Paradise Valley. Congratulations.”

Daines Lands Package Pen

Download video HERE

US Senator Daines Fight for Public Lands 

Watch HERE. Download HERE.

Daines Outside WH

Daines outside of the White House following the bill signing (more pictures to come)

Daines has been a champion in moving this bipartisan public lands package through Congress. Daines secured Senate passage and was vocal in urging House leadership to pass the legislation swiftly.

Statements of Support: 

“This is a historic moment for our local community and for all Americans. Thank you Senator Daines for your hard work to find a way to get the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act to the President’s desk and signed! None of this would have been possible without the strong bipartisan efforts of Senator Daines.” Bryan Wells, Founding member Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition

“March 12, 2019 will forever live in the hearts of the local businesses and communities of the Paradise Valley. The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act is as much about the people who live here, as it is about the forests, the mountains, and the river that runs through the heart of it all. This legislation reflects the hearts of the people who make this part of Montana home, and we are grateful Montana’s delegation pushed it over the finish line.” Colin Davis, Owner, Chico Hot Springs Resort

“Senator Daines played a key role in helping pass the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act in the Senate. RMEF particularly appreciates his tenacity on behalf of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which this bill reauthorizes permanently, and its provisions to improve access to federal lands for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. These are priorities RMEF has been working on for many years and we are pleased Congress was able to pass it and deliver it to the President for his signature.” – R. Kyle Weaver, President & CEO, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

“Senator Daines repeatedly stepped up to press the case for permanent reauthorization of LWCF.  His efforts on the Senate floor and behind the scenes made a real, important difference in getting this bill to the President’s desk for signing.  We look forward to continuing our work with Senator Daines to secure full, dedicated funding for America’s most vital conservation program.”– Dick Dolan, Northern Rockies Director, The Trust for Public Land

“This bipartisan legislation shows that Americans are united in support of public lands, clean water and rural conservation projects. We applaud Senator Daines’ tireless efforts to permanently reauthorize the Land Water and Conservation Fund. For more than a half century, LWCF has helped Montanans from Ekalaka to Eureka access their public lands, maintain their county parks and build new trails. We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Daines to support public lands and conservation projects in the Big Sky state.” Scott Brennan, Montana State Director, The Wilderness Society

“AFFTA has long stood by the conservation, restoration, and protection of our public lands and waters. The permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund as part of the lands package will ensure that each and every one of us will have the freedom and access to enjoy our wild and natural spaces, whether we fish, hunt, hike, camp, ride, or simply visit. We thank Senator Daines for his leadership in rallying the tremendous bipartisan support that this bill received, and are grateful to see this bill signed into law.”- Ben Bulis, President, American Fly Fishing Trade Association

“This is good news for all sportsmen concerned about access to places to hunt, fish, target shoot and recreate on public lands. Hunters and recreational shooters need Congress’ help and today was a historic step. This package is a testament of the strength and unity of the sportsmen’s community, and we are pleased the President signed it into law.” – Timothy C. Brady, President of the Boone and Crockett Club.

 “From elk habitat on the Rocky Mountain Front to trout fishing on the Big Blackfoot River, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided public access to Montana’s best hunting and fishing spots. The passage of this legislation proves that conservation is above partisan politics and that by working together we can leave a lasting legacy for the next generation of sportsmen and women.” – Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

“This historic legislation will both open and improve access to federal lands benefitting Montana’s sportsmen and women. We applaud Senator Daines for his leadership on passing this bill that also takes steps to curtail costly frivolous litigation and permanently reauthorizes LWCF. Montana wins, and we thank you.” – Dan Stusek, Executive Director, Montana Outdoors Coalition

“Permanent reauthorization of the LWCF is a historic conservation achievement, and the Montana Congressional Delegation helped make it happen. The Montana land trust community appreciates the leadership and commitment demonstrated by Senators Daines and Tester and Congressman Gianforte, and we look forward to working with them toward continued LWCF achievements in Montana.”  – Glenn Marx, Executive Director, Montana Association of Land Trusts

“Montana’s public lands provide a platform for economic advantages, and invaluable business opportunities across the state.  The Land and Water Conservation Fund has contributed roughly $587 billion for recreation and conservation projects across Montana since its inception over 50 years ago.  Business for Montana’s Outdoors couldn’t be more pleased by the good work of Senator Daines and our entire Congressional delegation, for getting LWCF finally across the finish line to permanent reauthorization – and we remain hopeful that the next step to safeguard this program for all Montana businesses is full, dedicated funding.” – Marne Hayes, Executive Director, Business for Montana’s Outdoors   


Among several other wins, the public lands package:

  • Permanently reauthorizes LWCF
  • Includes the WILD Act which strengthens wildlife conservation by reauthorizing sportsmen’s wildlife conservation programs, assists in the management of invasive species, and promotes anti-poaching programs
  • Enacts long-awaited provisions supporting Sportsmen’s access and heritage
  • Allows the permitting or leasing of public land for shooting ranges and target ranges
  • Strengthens partnerships with our national parks by authorizing the Every Kid Outdoors program and the 21st Century Conservation Corps
  • Requires federal agencies to manage and enhance wildlife species and habitats that respects statement management authority and private property rights
  • Facilitates an “open until closed policy” on federal land by requiring federal public land to be open for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting unless the Secretary closes an area for public safety or applicable to other laws and only in consultation with state fish and wildlife agencies through public notice and comment
  • Curtails obstructive litigation by requiring publishing of EAJA and Judgment Fund payments issued