My family and I experience most of our outdoor activities on public lands. We enjoy hiking throughout the state and especially in and around the Gallatin Valley. We are frequently visiting our state parks, national forests, BLM managed lands, wilderness areas and county and city parks. We love trekking on trails, usually walking or running but also on bikes, cross-country skis and ice skates. We love being outside at all times of the year, breathing the fresh air under the big sky.
If we didn’t have access to those public lands the quality of our lives would be dramatically decreased in ways that would be impossible to quantify. Losing our freedom to be out on our aboriginal lands, our Mother Earth, would be a lot like being in jail; denied the simple and profound joy of walking the same ground that our ancestors viewed as public lands for over 13,000 years.
We need to have a conversation about public lands in Montana yesterday, today and tomorrow, because public lands make all of us wealthy with freedom. Public lands unite us as individuals and heal us as families and communities. They enrich us with a sense of pride and love of our inherited fortune; a fortune that we are obligated to pass down to future generations. We should continue to celebrate and build our public land base.