Partnership efforts culminate in landscape-scale conservation in northwest Montana

October 22, 2019
Missoula, MT

The USDA Forest Service, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, The Trust for Public Land, and Stimson Lumber Company recently completed two projects that permanently protect the resources on more than 27,000 acres of land in Western Montana.

The Beavertail to Bearmouth (B2B) project consists of 5,472 acres located east of Missoula near Beavertail State Park and within Lolo National Forest, while the Kootenai Forestlands project covered 22,295 acres of lands near Libby, Montana. The Kootenai and Lolo National Forests are extremely popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds and are appreciated for their hunting and fishing opportunities. Thanks to the partnership, vision and conservation ethic of Stimson Lumber Company, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the Forest Service, the public will have permanent access to 27,767 acres in northwest Montana.

Barry Dexter, Stimson Lumber Company’s Director of Inland Resources added, “Stimson Lumber Company recognizes the high recreational benefits to sportsmen and sportswomen that these properties offer.  Ensuring that these two properties remain open for public access, while at the same time maintaining healthy and productive forests, are important elements of the present and future uses of these landscapes.  Stimson is pleased to be a part of preserving this legacy for the people of Montana.”

Funding for the B2B Project was provided by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  LWCF funds come from a small fraction of revenues generated by offshore oil and gas royalty payments, rather than taxpayer dollars, and they are used to acquire lands that provide recreational opportunities, clean water, and wildlife habitat.  In 2019, the B2B project was ranked number one in the nation among the projects proposed for LWCF funding. 

The Kootenai Forestlands project was made possible by the Forest Legacy Program, which is also funded through LWCF, and The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Acres for America Program. The Kootenai Forestlands project was also the top priority for funding from the Forest Legacy Program.

“We are excited to be part of this landscape conservation project,” said Alan Wood, Science Program Supervisor for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. “The Kootenai Forestlands project protects crucial habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species and the access provisions guarantee that the public will continue to enjoy these cherished resources into the future.”

Carolyn Upton, Forest Supervisor of the Lolo National Forest, said; “The cross-boundary partnership surrounding this project and the outcomes achieved will benefit Montanans and the greater public by ensuring public access to public lands near Missoula. We are excited to help resolve checkerboard ownership challenges within the Lolo National Forest, and look forward to stewarding these acres into the future. ”

Dick Dolan, Northern Rockies Director for The Trust for Public Land added, “These projects are not possible without two key ingredients: a patient and generous landowner and great partners. We had that in spades here. Stimson willingly worked with us for three years and donated a significant amount of land value in order to make this happen. Our partnerships with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the U.S. Forest Service and the Montana Congressional Delegation were vital. This is collaborative conservation at its best.”


“These important projects secure public access to great recreation opportunities, supporting our statewide $7.1 billion outdoor recreation economy,” said Jon Tester, Montana’s senior U.S. senator and a key member of the Appropriations Committee.  “And they’re a critical reason we’ve got to keep fighting for full funding for LWCF—so the next generation has the same opportunities to hike, fish, hunt, and enjoy our public lands as we’ve been lucky to have.”


“These two projects are a perfect example of how LWCF is critical to conservation and increasing public access to public lands in Montana,” said Sen. Steve Daines, another senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  “These projects increase access to 27,767 acres of wildlife land for Montana’s sportsmen and women, and also support good paying timber jobs. I am pleased to have fought for funding for these projects and will continue to push for full and permanent funding of LWCF.”



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