Save land now

  • DONATED: "Blackfoo

    learwater" by Monte Dolack
  In 1948, the state of Montana bought a 67,000-acre ranch near the southern flank of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area in order to protect land for wintering elk and deer. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks manages the tract, known as the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area, but private inholdings are increasingly susceptible to development. Now, a coalition in Montana hopes to raise $2.2 million to buy 1,800 acres within the management area from the Plum Creek Timber Co. The agency hopes to obtain another 6,000 acres from the company through state and federal land trades. Though the Plum Creek land is leased to the state, Mike Thompson of Fish, Wildlife and Parks says that as real estate values rise, private landowners will be more likely to sell off lands within the wildlife management area. "We see things changing," Thompson says.

The Five Valleys Land Trust is selling posters of the Monte Dolack painting, "Blackfoot-Clearwater," to help raise the $2.2 million. To purchase a $30 poster, contact Five Valleys Land Trust, P.O. Box 8953, Missoula, MT 59807. For details about the land purchase, contact Mike Thompson, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 3201 Spurgin Road, Missoula, MT 59804 (406/542-5523).

* Dustin Solberg
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