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Gianforte appoints 3 to Montana Fish and Wildlife Fee

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Gov. Greg Gianforte this week introduced three nominations for the Montana Fish and Wildlife Fee, together with two first-time appointments and reappointments of the present chair.

Ravalli County Commissioner Jeff Burrows, campground proprietor Susan Kirby Brooke of Bozeman, and present Fee Chair Lesley Robinson, who ranches close to Dodson, have been appointed by Gianforte to serve on the seven-member fee. The appointees will face hearings and a remaining vote of the Montana Senate to be formally confirmed.

The fee has remaining say over main Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks choices together with looking, trapping and fishing rules and wildlife transplants. It additionally could advance land purchases and conservation easements to the state Land Board. In a state know for fish and wildlife, the fee has largely just lately been on the middle of some hotly debated administration points on species akin to wolves and elk.

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Burrows will change present Commissioner Jana Waller of Lolo, who just lately introduced her resignation on account of transferring exterior of Area 2.

“I believe all of us stay right here as a result of we just about all get pleasure from public lands, and I grew up looking and fishing,” Burrows mentioned in an interview.

Burrows added that together with a private curiosity in fish and wildlife points, he sees a match together with his work as a county commissioner representing his space. He acknowledged that the fee offers with loads of contentious points, however mentioned he appears to be like ahead to working with the individuals and teams that come to testify.

Brooke owns and operates KOA Campgrounds close to St. Mary’s and Three Forks, in addition to a pizzeria in St. Mary’s. She grew up on a cattle ranch within the Madison Valley, the place her household’s enterprise included rental cabins.

Brooke additionally has an in depth historical past in pure useful resource and agricultural points. She has labored with the administrations of a number of Republicans, together with serving as an adviser to the late-Sen. Conrad Burns and appointments to the Board of Environmental Overview by then Gov. Marc Racicot and the Montana Water Compact Fee by then Gov. Stan Stephens. She has additionally lobbied for agricultural pursuits.

“I haven’t got an agenda, I do not belong to any fishing or looking teams” she mentioned. “I am an individual who likes to hike and fish on Montana’s state lands.”

Brooke added that she has been getting up to the mark on subjects starting from the Madison River to wolves and bison close to Yellowstone Nationwide Park.

Brooke’s appointment implies that for the primary time, the fee shall be fully made up of Gianforte appointments with Area 3 Commissioner Patrick Byorth, an appointee of former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, being terminated out. The latest make-up typically put Byorth within the minority, the place he spoke out in opposition to a number of fee choices over the past two years.

Robinson has chaired the fee for the final two years. She beforehand served as a Phillips County commissioner and because the vice chairman of the Montana Stockgrowers Affiliation, however gained statewide notoriety as Gianforte’s 2016 operating mate throughout his unsuccessful run for the governor’s workplace.

“I believe we’ve a great group, a very numerous group and I’ve loved working with them,” she mentioned about her curiosity in a second time period. “I suppose I like a problem.”

Serving on the fee takes a number of time and preparation, Robinson mentioned.

“I simply assume I am a great match for it and I get pleasure from it,” she continued. “Our ranch has been a part of the Block Administration program for 20 years and we type of stay among the many wildlife and actually get pleasure from it.”

The fee was previously a five-member physique, however expanded to seven members in 2021 representing the seven FWP administrative areas. If confirmed, the appointees will be part of Commissioners Pat Tabor, KC Walsh, Brian Cebull and Invoice Lane.

The rut in elk is triggered by a shortening of the size of sunlight hours every day. (Video courtesy of Montana FWP)


Tom Kuglin is the deputy editor for the Lee Newspapers State Bureau. His protection of it focuses on open air, recreation and pure sources.

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