At its meeting on December 11 in Helena, the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission approved an FWP proposal to purchase a conservation easement on the Hirschy property near Wisdom and establish conservation easements as part of a land trade concerning the Reinoehl property near Clearwater Junction. The State Land Board gave final approval to the transactions at its meeting on December 15.
The Jack Hirschy Livestock Inc. easement, which will be purchased for a price of $1.4 million, will protect almost 9,500 acres of prime wildlife habitat in southwestern Montana, including big game winter range for elk, moose and deer. In addition, Fred and Lynn Hirschy will donate an easement on another 1,360 acres of the Moose Creek Ranch. The property for which the easement was approved also includes several headwater streams of the Big Hole River that are inhabited by the last viable population of fluvial Arctic grayling in the 48 contiguous United States.
The Reinoehl property lies adjacent to the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area northeast of Missoula. FWP proposes to trade 254 acres of the WMA to the Reinoehls for a conservation easement on 634 acres of their private land on the border of the WMA. The easement would protect the land for its value as elk winter range. Another conservation easement will be placed on the 254 WMA acres when they are transferred in fee title to the Reinoehls.