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Pine Creek Lake. Photo by Walker Stole
Feb 14 2019

“An All-Encompassing Emotional Experience”

MWA presents “Hallowed Waters,” a short film that captures the beauty of the storied Blackfoot and how we can protect it

Announcements, Featured

This week we received a vivid reminder that public lands, wild places, and wild waters can transcend the divisiveness that characterizes our state and nation today. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, including Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, came together on a legislative lands package that permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, passes the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, and designates 1.3 million acres of Wilderness across the West.

Passage of this lands package happened to coincide with the release of an MWA-produced five-minute film called “Hallowed Waters: The Legacy and Lifeblood of the Big Blackfoot,” which highlights the next opportunity for our Congressional delegation to find common ground around public lands, wild places, and wild waters.  

That opportunity is the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, a bipartisan proposal to protect and bolster lands, waters, and livelihoods in the iconic Blackfoot watershed. A group of neighbors in the Blackfoot and Clearwater Valleys – including ranchers, timber mill operators, outfitters, small business owners, conservationists, mountain bikers, and snowmobilers – spent more than a decade collaborating on this proposal that 73 percent of Montanans across the political spectrum support (according to the bipartisan 2018 University of Montana Public Lands Survey). 

As “Hallowed Waters” beautifully demonstrates, the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act (BCSA) will permanently protect the key tributaries of the iconic Blackfoot River and thereby help ensure that the entire Blackfoot watershed remains a stable and healthy fishery for native westslope cutthroat and bull trout. It will also help ensure that the Blackfoot remains the storied river that has enchanted fishermen and women the world over since Norman Maclean venerated it in “A River Runs Through It.” 
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"Hallowed Waters" highlights the next opportunity for our Congressional delegation to find common ground around public lands, wild places, and wild waters.  

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As Big Blackfoot Riverkeeper Jerry O’Connell says in the film, the Blackfoot continues to deliver an “all encompassing emotional experience” four decades after the publication of Maclean’s classic.

Passage of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act will help preserve that experience by protecting this watershed for generations of fish, fishermen and women, and Montanans to come. I invite you to watch Hallowed Waters: The Legacy and Lifeblood of the Big Blackfoot to experience the beauty and importance of the water that the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act will protect. 

After watching, please join us in sending a clear message to our delegation by adding your name to a letter addressed to Montana’s congressional delegation, requesting that Tester reintroduce the bill this year and that Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte support the bill.

Maclean included haunting warnings in “A River Runs Through It” about time’s ability to degrade that which is wild and loved. He writes, “No one can tell what a spot of time is until suddenly the whole world is a fish and the fish is gone.” Now is the time to set the hook and land the fish to protect our hallowed waters. It’s as simple as adding your name and sharing this video with others. 

If you would like to screen “Hallowed Waters” for a live audience with a representative of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project, please email me at eclark@wildmontana.org. We’re looking to share the magic of the Blackfoot’s waters far and wide.  

- Erin Clark, MWA western Montana field director