MISSOULA – 120 acres of land near Stevensville will now be open to the public and protected from future land developments.
The land is located to the north of Bass Creek Recreation Area and lies at the base of the Bitterroot Mountain range.
The Bitterroot National Forest surrounds the 120-acre plot of land on every side, except for the east side which is a five-acre subdivision.
That five-acre subdivision could have easily expanded up the mountain, making the land inaccessible to the public and upsetting animals’ winter range.
It takes more than one organization to save a large chunk of land like this and even requires some help from the national level.
"This particular project we used a lot of federal funding through what’s called the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is a highly-popular fund that’s out there and has been used in projects all across the state and across the nation at the same time," said RMEF Director of Communications Mark Holyoak. "So then it’s a matter of reaching out to local sportsmen’s groups or folks that care about the environment, just getting as many people and funding sources together to try and make it happen and that’s what happened here."
RMEF says that there will be some light restoration efforts in the area to create more food for species native to the area.
The land has already been turned over to the Bitterroot National Forest and is open to the public.