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FWP seeks alternative leasing plan for Big Arm State Park

Posted at 10:25 PM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 16:22:35-05

KALISPELL — Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is looking for alternative options to afford payments and keep Big Arm State Park open to the public.

Dave Landstrom says FWP currently leases Big Arm State Park annually from Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) for $22,000. The lease expires at the end of February.

However, Landstrom told MTN News that the lease will dramatically increase to almost $500,000 annually, a price tag that the agency can not afford.

Landstrom says that the DNRC would have to re-purpose Big Arm State Park on their terms, and as of right now FWP has a few options. They can allow the lease to lapse or purchase a multi-million dollar permanent easement, meaning FWP won’t have to pay another lease.

It would cost $8 million to buy the existing 218 acres and $10 million would buy an additional 23 acres adjacent to the Big Arm State Park.

While the comment public period is closed, Landstrom says FWP hopes to have a solution for this popular recreation site by the end of February.