TNC and TPL Make First Purchase of Plum Creek Land (MT)
HELENA,MT., 12/18/08: The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land announced today they’ve purchased 130,000 acres of western Montana forest land from Plum Creek Timber Company (NYSE:PCL).
The purchase is part of the agreement reached earlier this year with Plum Creek, in which the two conservation groups would purchase, in three phases, approximately 310,000 acres of timberland for $500 million.
The lands in this first purchase are located in the Fish Creek drainage northwest of Missoula and the Potomac area, east of Missoula between the Blackfoot River and Interstate 90. The remainder of the 310,000 acres will be purchased in two installments, with the final closing in December 2010.
The goals of the project are to maintain sustainable timber harvests, preserve vital fish and wildlife habitat and promote continued public access to these lands for hunting, fishing, hiking and other recreational pursuits.
The lands in this project offer habitat for wide-ranging big game animals including elk, moose and bear, as well as bull trout and numerous other wildlife. These lands are also some of the most popular hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking areas in the western United States.
“This project will conserve these lands for Montana’s future. This effort is crucial for the preservation of timber harvesting, tourism and recreation – three important drivers of western Montana’s economy,” says Kat Imhoff, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Montana.
The Conservancy and Trust for Public Land will eventually transfer all of the lands into a mix of state, federal and private ownership.
Some of the lands purchased today are being considered for state ownership as part of the Montana Working Forests Project. The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have expressed interest in these lands, assuming the groups are able to secure funding for the purchase.
“State purchase would not only consolidate state ownership in places like the Swan River State Forest, it also would be a great deal for the citizens of Montana,” says Eric Love, director of the Northern Rockies program of The Trust for Public Land. “Buying this land for Montanans is not only a wise financial investment in the short-term, it is a once-in-a-lifetime investment for the next generation. It gives our children the same opportunities we had as kids to hike and hunt and fish.”
For more information go to: www.montanaworkingforests.org
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Trust for Public Land is a leading national non-profit land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people. TPL believes that connecting people to the land is key to creating livable communities and a healthy environment for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has worked with willing landowners, community groups and public partners to protect nearly 2.3 million acres around the country.