Montana Outdoor Fund protects the last best place

Many Montana businesses and the jobs they bring would not exist if it weren’t for wide open spaces, high-quality access to public lands, and the conservation efforts of previous generations to keep our lands nearly intact. .

If our businesses have collectively learned anything from our combined decades of experience building outdoor businesses, it’s that you need to continually reinvest in the assets that set you apart. That’s why it’s crucial that state legislators continue to support the Montana Outdoor Fund – a 21st century investment to protect the last best place.

How it works

The Montana Outdoor Fund sets aside a small percentage of revenue from recreational marijuana sales to protect and maintain our access to the great outdoors. Montana is the only state in the country to establish this type of investment, which was approved by Montana voters via a ballot initiative in 2020 and authorized last year by Montana lawmakers, including Governor Greg Gianforte.

What it funds

If you love the Montana outdoors, the Montana Outdoor Fund backs and supports something close to your heart. Have you ever visited any of Montana’s state parks? The Montana Outdoor Fund provides more than $2 million annually to help maintain picnic areas, repair roads, and support state park managers and their staff.

Do you bike, hike, or use motorized vehicles on the Montana trail system? Again, the Montana Outdoor Fund provides over $2 million annually to fund local trail grants for motorized and non-motorized use. These dollars are readily available to trail groups across the state working to maintain deteriorating trails or create new ones to improve access for all trail users.

Our companies share a concern about the deterioration of access to our public lands. The Montana Outdoor Fund provides up to $10 million annually to support the Habitat Montana program. It is Montana’s best tool for facilitating voluntary agreements with landowners to unlock and protect our public access while protecting working ranches from development.

Reliable and popular source of income

Montana’s nascent recreational marijuana industry is growing rapidly. State dispensaries have already reported more than $43 million in sales for adult use, enough to bring in more than $9 million in tax revenue for the state. Updated projections show that annual revenues will exceed earlier estimates. All of this is on top of a reliable, long-term funding commitment for our lands, waters and wildlife.

In fact, a recent University of Montana poll showed that over 80% of Montana residents support the continued use of recreational marijuana taxes for this purpose. Only 12% of the population would like the legislators to redirect these funds towards another objective.

A critical test

The Montana Outdoor Fund will face its first real test with the upcoming release of Governor Greg Gianfortes’ state operating budget. When released later this year, the 2025 biennial executive budget will reflect the Gianforte administration’s funding priorities and values. We sincerely hope they consider the interests of 80% of the people of Montana and commit to this valuable investment in our public access, state parks, wildlife, and public trails.

The importance of this funding commitment will only grow over time. Already, the demands on our public lands, waters and recreational facilities have never been greater, and we must continue to build on the successful programs that protect our outdoor assets by investing in our incredible, class-leading outdoor activities. world, which are of great value to Montanans and visitors alike.

The Montana Outdoor Fund is not just an investment in our land, water and wildlife. It is an investment in the brand of Montana, our way of life, our freedoms and our economic well-being. And for many Montana companies like ours, it’s an investment in the assets that drive our innovation and the remarkable landscapes that contribute to our success.

We encourage you to visit www.gofundmt.org to learn more and show your support.

Eric Siegfried is the founder of onXmaps, Inc. and Ryan Holm is chief marketing officer for Mystery Ranch. Both are members of Business for Montana Outdoors.

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