Agencies fighting to keep Montana land free from development - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Agencies fighting to keep Montana land free from development

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WHITEFISH -

Fish Wildlife and Parks is just one agency fighting to preserve a section of land in the Flathead for public use. 

Weyerhaeuser, a privately owned logging company is looking to sell thirteen thousand acres of land.  Land that surrounds the Stillwater Forrest near Whitefish, the proposal is titled “The Whitefish Lake Watershed Project.”  Under the proposal Fish Wildlife and Parks will work with The Trust for Public Land to conserve twenty-one sections of the Weyerhaeuser property.  FWP would purchase sixteen of the twenty sections available.  The Bonneville Power Administration would give funding for the purchase of five of the twenty sections.  

If the DNRC, Fish Wildlife and Parks and the BPA can pull their resources and buy the land nothing will be built on the property preserving it for public use.

But Alan Wood with FWP tells us it's not cheap, with the first phase of the conservation project costing nine million dollars.

Wood explains, "We don't have that much money right now, so it comes through annual grants and like I said we have the first grant so, when we get that money if all of this goes through and is approved when we get the money we would close on that phase."

Right now Wood tells us Fish Wildlife and Parks has enough money to secure half of the land that's for sale.

The proposal outlining the purchasing plan is available online and FWP is asking for public comment.  The proposal will be available to the public until 5:00 p.m. on July 12th, 2017.  Copies of the proposal are at the FWP office, 490 N. Meridian Rd., Kalispell; Montana State Library, 1515 E 6th Ave., Helena; FWP State Headquarters, 1420 E 6th Ave., Helena; the FWP website at //fwp.mt.gov/News/Recent Public Notices/Environmental Assessments/Acquisitions, Trades & Leases; and available for viewing at local libraries. Please submit comments to Nancy Ivy; Fish, Wildlife & Parks; 490 N Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901; (406) 751-4579; nivy@mt.gov.

There will also be a public hearing on June 21st, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. in Whitefish at Grouse Mountain Lodge.  Questions regarding the project will be answered here.

If everything goes according to plan the land will be purchased and preserved by the end of 2018.

   

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