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A few years ago, my youngest daughter and I backpacked into a lake nestled in the mountains in mid-summer, hoping to enjoy a peaceful day and night enjoying the Montana outdoors.

On the way in we met motorcyclists on a connecting trail. As I stepped aside to let them pass, I wished that we could still enjoy that uniquely Montana experience: a beautiful summer weekend alone at a lake where the fish were biting.

Turns out that my wish came true, for that first day and night at least. The cutthroat were willing, the sky was blue and the only noise we heard was our words, the wind and the lapping of the water on the shore. This lake was in the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines proposes to drop the protections that made that experience possible. I don’t know if Daines has ever visited the Sapphire WSA, but I don’t like losing the quiet that helped make that day memorable. Someday, I hope my daughter can share that place like it is now with her kids and remember our special time there.

Washington, D.C., horse-trading has no place giving that away.

Len Broberg


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