Wilderness Study Area

Chris Marchion takes a look at the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area in southwestern Montana.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

Life’s been tough on Chris Marchion. There was the high school football injury and the knee replacement.

“Unfortunately I got a hip that’s wore out,” he says.

We’re standing alongside a gravel road near a cow pasture. Nowadays, this is about as close as Marchion can get to the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area. It’s a clump of rolling, grey mountains in the distance.

Many members of Congress have returned to their home states this week to make the rounds at their local offices and meet with constituents.

Montana Republican U.S. Senator Steve Daines made a stop Wednesday morning at the western Montana town of Phillipsburg where he toured a craft brewery.

Yellowstone Public Radio’s Nate Hegyi caught up with Daines at the noisy microbrewery. 


A new coalition called “Our Land, Our Legacy” says it plans to fight against Daines’ bill with social media messages and an advertising campaign.
Jason Crotty-CC-BY-2

Montana Wilderness advocates are launching a campaign in opposition to a bill introduced by the state’s Republican Senator Steve Daines. If passed, that bill would eliminate protections for some federal lands in Montana.

Senator Steve Daines
Senator Steve Daines

Republican Senator Steve Daines introduced legislation Thursday that would end wilderness study area protections for some federal lands in Montana. But conservation groups aren't happy.