Conservation Partnership Culminates in Landscape-scale Protection in Northwest Montana

The Trust for Public Land, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and Stimson Lumber Company recently completed a project that permanently protects the resources on more than 27,000 acres in northwestern Montana. 

Phase II of the Kootenai Forestlands Conservation Project consists of 27,289 acres of highly productive Stimson timberland in northwestern Montana southeast of Libby. Through the partnership, vision and conservation ethic of Stimson Lumber Company and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the public will have free, permanent access to 27,289 acres in northwest Montana protected through a conservation easement. 

“Stimson Lumber Company strongly supports working forestlands which provide quality recreational opportunities, excellent fish and wildlife habitat and a healthy environment,” said Andrew Miller, Stimson Lumber Company’s President and CEO. “Working forestlands also promote vibrant, healthy forests which contribute to important rural economies. Stimson appreciates being a part of the collaborative effort with The Trust for Public Land and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on this important landscape project in northwestern Montana. Present and future generations will appreciate the benefits of this important project.” 

Funding for the Phase II Kootenai Forestlands Conservation Project has been provided by the USDA’s Forest Legacy Program, NFWF’s Acres for America and Great Migrations Program, Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust, and a very generous donation of land value from the Stimson Lumber Company. 

This landscape is key winter range and a migratory corridor for elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and moose. It will also ensure protection of critical habitat for threatened species like bull trout, grizzly bear, and Canada lynx found on the property. 

“The most successful conservation efforts involve collaboration, and the Kootenai Forestlands project is a prime example,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Regional Supervisor, Jim Williams. “This project has brought together public and private entities to support working lands, wildlife habitat, and public access for recreation. Montana is fortunate to have landowners like Stimson Lumber Company that value these outcomes, and we’re fortunate to have The Trust for Public Land helping local communities protect the land they have valued and used for generations.” 

“The Trust for Public Land is thrilled to have played a part in this conservation effort, that will ensure protection of working forests, wood-product jobs, and permanent public land access for thousands of Montanans,” said Chris Deming, Northern Rockies Land Protection Director. “It would not be happening without the generous support of the Stimson Lumber Company and the collaboration with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and we thank our partners for their leadership and vision.”  

The project complements the recently completed 22,295-acre Kootenai Forestlands Conservation Easement (CE) Phase I and the 27,992-acre Kootenai Valleys CE, and is adjacent to 142,000-acre Thompson-Fisher CE. Collectively, nearby conservation projects in Montana and Idaho have protected a quarter million acres of quality forested and aquatic ecosystems. 

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