The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a proposal to tap federal Forest Legacy Funds and state Habitat Montana funds to purchase a 7,274-acre conservation easement on lands in the Flathead now owned by Southern Pine Plantations (SPP), new owner of lands formerly owned by Weyerhaeuser. The Trust for Public Land has worked to put the project together, and has been in contact with SPP during the ownership transition. The proposed conservation easement is adjacent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge.
FWP reports that “The proposed conservation easement would allow SPP to continue sustainable forest management, preclude development, sustain forestry jobs, protect valuable wildlife habitat and a key migratory corridor, and provide permanent, year-round public access to popular recreation lands. This project would protect the north slope of Dredger Ridge, a favorite walk-in elk hunting area. The property also supports grizzly bears and Canada lynx.”
Comments are due by May 5.