Baucus floats the Madison to highlight conservation fund


Baucus floats the Madison to highlight conservation fund (08/05/13)

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Kayaker Megan Meyer chats with some of the folks on her Wave Train team. She tells me she gets out at least twice a week.

"I love kayaking!" Meyer says with a smile.

It's one reason why she decided to get out on the river with Senator Baucus.

"The rivers and the outdoors are really important to me so, I thought why not come along and support the program," explains Meyer.

Meyer says Land and Water Conservation Fund money has created recreation opportunities that allows her to spend more time in the outdoors, like the fishing access sites where she puts in her kayak.

"Keeping that open to myself or my kids and family, it's really important," says Meyer.

Time spent in the outdoors is something she says is key to her success and happiness.

"I find that when I'm outside more, I do better in school and it's just and awesome way to make friends and get in touch with nature," Meyer tells me.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been instrumental in helping to create 70 percent of Montana's Fishing Access Sites, like the Milwaukee site near Three Forks.

"It's been a significant legacy all throughout Montana. It's helped us build our recreation infrastructure," says Montana State Parks Administrator Chas Van Genderen.

Passed in 1965, the act collects money from oil and gas leasing revenues and puts it back into the landscape throughout the United States.

"We grant that money to municipalities and county governments to help build recreation facilities as well as acquire lands," explains Van Genderen.

Land like the Missouri Headwaters State Park. Here in Montana, we've seen $37 million. That money is matched, dollar for dollar. That means $74 million has gone into help building state and community parks.

"That act is set to expire in 2015," says Van Genderen.

It's why folks like Meyer and Senator Baucus are hoping they can rally support for the fund and reauthorize the bill.

Van Genderen tells us there is also a federal side to the program that helps buy in-holdings in national parks and wildlife habitat and helps to protect landscape.

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