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FWP Seeks Input on Access Proposal for Ranches Near Galen, MT

Fish & Wildlife - Region 2

Wed Jun 13 16:26:01 MDT 2018

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is seeking public input on its proposal to accept an access component of a conservation easement on the privately owned Dry Cottonwood Creek and Deer Lodge River Ranches near Galen, Montana.

Under the proposal, the Montana Land Reliance (MLR) would purchase a conservation easement on the ranches to protect the water resources, wildlife habitat, working agricultural ground, and public recreation opportunities on 3,409 acres. MLR would then assign to FWP the portion of the conservation easement that provides for public hunting access and public recreational access to the Clark Fork River.

The grant of public access would not require funds from FWP. In May, the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Remediation and Restoration Advisory Council voted to recommend complete funding from the Montana Department of Justice Natural Resource Damage Program.

The ranches are comprised of a diverse mix of habitats, including 5.5 miles of the Clark Fork River, forest, big game winter range, and meadows and pastures, which support elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer and antelope.

FWP will hold a public hearing in Deer Lodge on June 26 at 7 p.m. at the Elks Lodge (230 Main Street) to discuss the proposal, answer questions and take public comment. A draft environmental assessment (EA) for this proposal is available for review and comment.

To review and comment, go to FWP’s website, fwp.mt.gov, under “News,” then “Recent Public Notices.” Or, request information and provide comment by contacting FWP Region 2; Attn: Sharon Rose; 3201 Spurgin Rd.; Missoula 59804; by phoning 406-542-5500; or by emailing shrose@mt.gov. Comments must be submitted by 5p.m. on Thursday, July 12, 2018.