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PNS Daily Newscast - Monday, Aug 21st, 2017 


Here are some of the stories we're covering today: A big protest is planned against President Trump today, a huge gathering in Maine on Sunday mourning the loss of three people killed during a white nationalist rally, and it's eclipse day but a moon of a different sort caught the country's attention about twenty five years ago.

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Local Businesses: MT National Monument Provides Economic Boost

Outdoor activities, such as canoeing on the Missouri River, generated $5.8 billion in consumer spending in Montana in 2012. (Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management)
Outdoor activities, such as canoeing on the Missouri River, generated $5.8 billion in consumer spending in Montana in 2012. (Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management)
July 17, 2017

FORT BENTON, Mont. – Public lands provide a major economic boost to local communities in Montana, according to groups that support the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument being kept as it is, while the U.S. Interior Department reviews the monument’s status.

A new report from Democratic members of the Joint Economic Committee in Congress shows outdoor recreation generated $5.8 billion in consumer spending and $1.5 billion in wages in Montana in 2012.

Nicolle Fugere, who owns Missouri River Outfitters, says she's seen the effect of the monument on her small town of Fort Benton.

"The Breaks provide tourism for this community here in Fort Benton, and without that, we wouldn't have the town that we do now,” she states. “We really rely on tourism in the summer."

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered a review of 27 monuments to examine whether there was enough public input in their creation or expansion and if they are properly sized.

He's already taken a couple off that list, and is expected to release decisions on the rest in late August.

Fugere says her business, which provides guided canoe trips down the Missouri River, has grown steadily over the last decade.

She says the river will be popular no matter what its status is, but the national monument designation has meant more facilities and protections for the Missouri Breaks, which means less destruction of the natural habitat.

"It's preserved the river, so that won't happen more and more,” she stresses. “And with more people coming down, you need to put things in place so that the river stays the way it is."

The Joint Economic Committee report also found in rural counties nationally that have 100,000 acres of protected public lands, compared to those with none, income per person is higher by more than $4,300.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT