Montana FWP seeks public comments on conservation easement proposal
If you want to comment on a possible conservation easement purchase in Montana, you have until July 28. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (Montana FWP) has proposed purchasing a conservation easement from Stimson Lumber Company for over 27,000 acres of working timberland near Libby. Why? To protect key habitat for elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, moose, Canadian lynx, grizzly bears and other animals, according to the Flathead Beacon.
Right now, the land is owned by the Stimson Lumber Company, which has been around since the 1850s. Under the proposed agreement, the company would still be allowed to “sustainably manage it for timber production;” however, the easement would “preclude development, protect important wildlife habitat and key landscape connectivity, and provide permanent public access and recreational opportunities on the property.”
Through approval of this conservation easement, it would allow for the following:
- Connection of existing easements that would link critical habitat and protect a key migration corridor;
- Protect key winter habitat for migrating ungulates; and
- Protect hunting and angling use in “perpetuity.”
“Completion of this project would build on the success of the nearby Forest Legacy Program-funded 142,000-acre Thompson-Fisher Conservation Easement, the 28,000-acre Kootenai Valleys Conservation Easement, and the 22,295-acre Kootenai Forestlands Phase I Conservation Easement, which was the first phase of this project,” stated to a Montana FWP press release. “Forest Legacy projects in Montana and Idaho have cumulatively helped to conserve over 300,000 acres of working forestlands that remain in private ownership while securing permanent public access and habitat conservation.”
Montana FWP will hold a public hearing on July 14 at 6 p.m. at the Libby City Hall. Other information about the proposed conservation easement can be found here. All public comments should be submitted by 5 p.m. on July 28 to email@example.com.