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You would think supporting full funding for the Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) would be a no brainer for any Montanan who loves the outdoors and public lands. What’s not to love. Use money from off shore drilling to make Montana an even better last best place. Over $400 million has been invested in our state since the funds inception 50 years ago, and $240 million in the last decade.

I had always heard about big projects protecting ranches along the Rocky Mountain Front, or protection of the headwaters of the Smith River, but being a little provincial I always wondered how it benefited Ravalli County and the Bitterroot Valley.

So now after a little sleuthing I now know. Maybe you fish. If so, there was $167,000 for developing five of the eight fishing access site north of Hamilton. So next time you put in at Woodside and take out at Tucker Crossing or Bell Crossing you can thank the LWCF.

While we usually think of LWCF as supporting hunting and fishing, you might be surprised to discover that $500,000 was spent to purchase and develop the county golf course. Another $70,000 built the Hamilton School Softball Complex, and more contributed to nearly every city park in Hamilton for a total of over $700,000 for sports and parks in our community.

Some things just make sense. Ask congress to support full funding. You stand to benefit.

— Lance Pysher, Hamilton

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