April 25, 2018
Wildlife Habitat Conserved, Access Expanded in Montana
MISSOULA, Mont.—A wildlife management area in west-central Montana is nearly 200 acres larger thanks to a conservation transaction carried out by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP).
“This 194-acre acquisition not only permanently protects winter range for elk but it creates new public access and also improves access to the existing public land it borders,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “It also protects stream and riparian habitat and enhances recreational opportunities for hunters, anglers and others who enjoy the outdoors.”
RMEF partnered with FWP to purchase what was previously a private tract of land to be added to the Fleecer Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
“This addition is a key piece to the Fleecer WMA because of its many wildlife habitat attributes and its potential for further restoration, as well as its puzzle-piece fit between the WMA and the county road,” said Rick Northrup, FWP habitat bureau chief. “On the flip side, had this parcel been sold and developed, it would have directly impacted the wildlife habitat functions of the existing WMA, becoming instead a chronic source of annual conflict.”
In addition to elk, the property offers quality habitat for moose, whitetail deer, black bear, mountain lion and other wildlife. Lying within the Big Hole River watershed, it also features approximately 1.5 miles of Divide Creek which is open for public fishing access.
RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE), FWP and Pittman-Robertson dollars provided funding for the project. TFE funds are used solely for RMEF’s core mission programs of land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.