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Sportsmen Support Wilderness

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"...fishing and hunting isn't what we do, it's who we are."

Montana hunting and angling groups are putting weight behind an effort to protect the Scotchman Peaks and West Cabinets, along the Idaho-Montana border.

Four local and statewide Montana sportsmen groups are now backing a proposal to protect the high country of the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle national forests. The hunters and anglers say protecting Scotchman Peaks and surrounding habitat will help protect access to the region’s world-class hunting and fishing.

The Libby Rod & Gun Club, the Bull Lake Rod & Gun Club, the Montana Wildlife Federation and the Montana chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers have all voiced support for the conservation proposal.

“In Lincoln County, hunting and fishing isn’t just what we do, it’s who we are,” said Don Clark, retired Libby educator and longtime member of the Libby Rod & Gun Club. “We want to make sure our kids and grandkids always have the same access to world-class hunting and fishing we enjoy today.”

The Scotchman Peaks-West Cabinets proposed wilderness area is west of Montana Highway 56, southwest of Bull Lake and north of Noxon.

“The rugged, remote character of this area is well known to our members, as this area is literally in our front yard,” said Robert Weber, president of the Bull Lake Rod & Gun Club. “The decision to include this area in the national wilderness system is a ‘no-brainer’ due to the rugged, remote terrain, inherent beauty and pristine wildlife habitat.”

Clark notes the proposal would protect big game habitat, including high country favored by mountain goats, trophy mule deer and big bull elk. High basin waters flow from the West Cabinets into the Bull River Valley, an area known for its scenic beauty and its camping and fishing opportunities.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologist Gayle Joslin has pointed out that the West Cabinets are one of the last strongholds for mountain goats in the Kootenai National Forest. Besides hunting and fishing, the region is popular for hiking, cross-country skiing and other family outdoor recreation.

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