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FWP seeking input on potential conservation easement for timberland near Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge

Fish & Wildlife - Region 1

Monday, April 06, 2020

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public input on a potential proposal to acquire a conservation easement on approximately 7,274 acres of productive timberland near Marion in Flathead County. 

The proposed project lands are adjacent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge. Southern Pine Plantations Montana, LLC, recently purchased the lands from Weyerhaeuser Co.  

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. The U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program and FWP’s Habitat Montana program would be the funding sources if this proposal proceeds to completion. 

Comments received during this scoping period will help FWP determine public interest and identify potential issues that would require further analysis. Input could also provide insight for refining the proposal or for developing and analyzing one or more alternatives. Upon completion of the scoping phase, FWP will determine next steps, which could include conducting an environmental analysis with additional opportunity for public input or taking no further action on the proposed project. 

The 30-day scoping period began on April 6, 2020. Please submit either written or emailed comments by May 5, 2020 to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks; Kris Tempel, Habitat Conservation Biologist; 490 N. Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901; or to ktempel@mt.gov. For more information, or to comment online, visit http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/.