I am very pleased to sign H.R. 13972, which designates the Great Bear Wilderness and enlarges the Bob Marshall Wilderness in the State of Montana.
This act adds 345,771 acres of some of Montana's most rugged and beautiful backcountry to the National Wilderness Preservation System. The area is comprised of mountainous terrain with outstanding scenic, watershed, wildlife, and primitive recreation values. It forms a critical ecological link between Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness and protects a large segment of the Flathead River.
Establishment of 'the Great Bear Wilderness is the product of years of work by a tireless and dedicated conservationist, the late Senator Lee Metcalf of Montana. He introduced the legislation leading to the wilderness study of the area. And now, thanks to the effort of his wife, Donna Metcalf, and his colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives, another of the Nation's most beautiful pristine areas will receive appropriate protection and recognition as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
I am proud to honor Senator Metcalf's memory in signing this important bill.