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Entries in Conservation lands (2)


Deal sets aside thousands of acres for conservation in the Blackfoot

Nature Conservancy photo(HELENA)- The Nature Conservancy says it has completed a major land deal that puts all of the remaining Plum Creek Timber lands in the Upper Blackfoot Valley, setting aside the forest for wildlife and conservation.

The agreement, announced Monday, involves more than 117-thousand acres of land, stretching from the Marshall Wildlife Management Area through the Placid Lake area to the Gold, Belmont and Blanchard drainages. That will set aside a major portion of the lands which provide critical drainage area for water quality on the Blackfoot. 

The Nature Conservancy will manage the area which will be called the Clearwater-Blackfoot Project. It follows the framework already set by the Blackfoot Community Project, the Montana Legacy Project and the Bureau of Land Management areas on the Blackfoot. All the areas will be operated under the group's "Open Lands Policy", with input from local residents and communities to work out specific management details. 

Efforts to acquire the Plum Creek Timber lands have been underway for several years. The campaign gained additional momentum after Plum Creek began converting large tracts of timberland into development across the Northwest almost a decade ago, raising concerns about losing lands for clean water, wildlife and recreation. 


FWP approves controversial ranch purchase

People packed a Helena hearing Monday on the Milk River ranch proposal- KRTV photo(HELENA)- Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission has given the go-ahead to shell out millions of dollars to purchase several thousand acres of private ranch land on the Hi-Line. 

The state's plans to purchase the Milk River Ranch lands for conservation and wildlife habitat drew heated opposition from adjoining landowners, who worried about the additional public access, as well as critics who were concerned about how much the state was spending for the land. 

However, KRTV reports the commission opted to go ahead with the purchase on a 4-1 vote despite the strong testimony against the plan. 

FWP will spend $4.7 million to purchase 3,000 acres using money from the "Habitat Montana" fund. Montana DNRC is already spending just over $1-million for an additional 1,000 acres. The state will also be buying the rights to archaeological and paleontological artifacts, bringing the total purchase price to nearly $8-million.