- Associated Press - Sunday, June 19, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Lewis and Clark County is using its open-lands bonds to help the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation buy land for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The county is digging $260,000 out of its bond fund to help buy more than 700 acres that will be donated to the state agency, the Helena Independent Record reported (https://tinyurl.com/hph7rt9 ). The county attorney said the move was legal, and the foundation hoped to complete the purchase by August.

Supporters say acquiring the land would improve access to about 4,400 acres of national forest. The property, which is also near the Canyon Creek Wildlife Management Area and located south of Flesher Pass, is owned by Stimson Lumber Co.

The project will cost about $550,000. The Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Elk Foundation also are contributors.

Wildlife habitat for trout was included in an application for the open-lands funds, along with game birds, small mammals, elk, deer and bears.

The property is also in the Continental Divide wildlife movement corridor, a priority area for conservation of species such as Canada lynx, grizzly bear and wolverines.

The land is managed for timber production, and Stimson Lumber Co. estimates it holds nearly 4 million board feet. The property was last logged in 2008.


Information from: Independent Record, https://www.helenair.com

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