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Public comment sought on proposed conservation easement near Libby

Flathead FWP Easement
Posted at 7:18 PM, Jun 30, 2021

KALISPELL — State wildlife officials are seeking public comment on a proposal to purchase a conservation easement in Northwest Montana.

The easement would protect approximately 27,289 acres of timberland, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities to the east and south of Libby. The property is owned by the Stimson Lumber Company.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) would hold the conservation easement and Stimson would retain ownership of the land and continue to sustainably manage for timber production, according to a news release.

The easement would preclude development, protect important wildlife habitat and key landscape connectivity, and provide permanent public access and recreational opportunities on the property.

FWP has scheduled a public hearing for July 14 at 6 p.m. At the Libby City Hall in the Ponderosa Room to offer a chance for people to ask questions about the proposed project and submit public comments.

The proposed project would protect key winter range and a movement corridor for elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and moose.

In addition, FWP states it would protect critical habitat for bull trout, grizzly bear, and Canada lynx, Endangered Species Act listed Threatened species found on the property.

The property currently provides over 26,500 days per year of public hunting and angling use, which would be secured in perpetuity under this proposal.

Additional information on the proposed conservation easement is available online.

Public comments on the draft environmental assessment should be submitted by 5 p.m. on July 28, 2021.

Email ktempel@mt.gov or mail comments to Kris Tempel, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901