Baucus Floats To Support Land And Water Conservation Fund - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Baucus Floats To Support Land And Water Conservation Fund

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THREE FORKS -

THREE FORKS - On Monday, Senator Max Baucus floated down the Madison River to show his support for the Land and Water Conservation funds.

The funds provide state and local government money to develop the public outdoor recreation areas such as fishing accesses and trail systems.

Baucus said it's important that we preserve our outdoors for future generations.

"It's really the heart of Montanans, but it's also here because we're not here forever. We have a moral obligation to leave it at good as shape or better shape for our kids and our grand kids," said Baucus.

Every year, the funds have to be approved by Congress. The amount of funds allocated depends on other expenses in the state's budget. The fund uses offshore oil and gas revenues, not taxpayer dollars.

"This money has come to Montana since 1965. We've put them on the ground to build places like the swimming pool in Glasgow, ball fields all around the state, ice skating rinks and help acquire state parks," said Chas Vangeneren, Montana State Parks Administrator.

Businesses like Wave Train Tracking in Bozeman, which provides programs for young whitewater kayakers, depends on the funds of the Land and Water Conservation funds.

"These places are our arena," said David Zinn, Wave Training Tracking. "These waters are where we participate in our sports and our organization functions and runs."

Zinn said if Montana didn't continue to receive these funds in the future, it would be a great loss to the community.

"It would be really unfortunate for our community," said Zinn. "We have such a strong outdoor community and such a strong recreation base. It would be a sad time if these access points and outdoor opportunities were not here."

Baucus said the funds not only help provide outdoor experiences, but helps our economy.

"For every $1 spent on funds to help develop public access, it yields $4 in economic benefit for our state," said Baucus.

Baucus said 70% of all the public access in the state is because of the Land and Water Conservation Funds.

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