Senator Steve Daines has introduced major legislation that will improve the health of both Indian and federal forest land.

Daines’ bill, the Tribal Forestry Participation and Protection Act helps keep Indian forest land and nearby federal forest land healthy by fostering greater cooperation between tribes and the Departments of Agriculture and Interior. This legislation will empower Montana tribes and federal agencies with a new tool to expedite critical restoration projects on certain federal lands, increasing active management and improving forest health.

“We need commonsense forest management reform that cuts through the bureaucratic red tape, improves the health of our forests, creates good paying jobs and reduces the risk of catastrophic forest fires,” Daines stated.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a hearing on Daines’ bill tomorrow.

Daines’ bill is thought to reduce the risk of wildfire on federal lands that neighbor tribal lands. The need for this legislation was demonstrated by last summer’s Spotted Eagle Fire, which started in upper Lonesome Creek drainage in the Badger Creek area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest and expanded and crossed the forest boundary onto the Blackfeet Reservation.