Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
1420 East 6th Avenue
PO Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
Dear Mr. Northrup:
Montana Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, composed of nearly 400 grassroots Montana hunters and anglers, strives to be “the sportsmen’s voice for wild public lands, waters and wildlife.”
With that in mind, we are writing to express our strong support for the conservation easement that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and The Trust for Public Land are proposing to purchase on approximately 7,150 acres of highly productive timberland located at the north end of the Flathead Valley about half way between and a little north of the cities of Whitefish and Columbia Falls.
The land is owned by the F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company and is located immediately east of Haskill Basin where Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and The Trust for Public Land have been working with Stoltze to protect another 3,020 acres that the company owns immediately next to the high-end Iron Horse subdivision and the Whitefish Mountain Resort. This companion project is currently ranked as the nation’s top Forest Legacy Program priority for Fiscal Year 2015. Permanent protection of the Trumbull Creek property would complement this on-going effort and greatly enhance the partners’ efforts to conserve two of the largest, contiguous blocks of private land in the Flathead Valley.
Our members, especially those in the Flathead, are well acquainted with Haskill Basin and Trumbull Creek. This is productive, well-managed timberland that produces elk, moose, whitetail and mule deer, black bear and mountain lion, as well as a host of other nongame species. It is also productive habitat for forest grouse species.
The proposed conservation easement purchase would support the local timber industry by allowing sustainable commercial timber operations to continue, while at the same time, conserving important wildlife habitat, protecting incredible scenery and guaranteeing that the public will continue to have permanent access for hunting and other recreation.
The Forest Legacy Program, as you know, was created to protect environmentally important forestlands that are being threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. Like nearby Haskill Basin, the Trumbull Creek property continues to face extraordinary development pressures, being located near Glacier National Park and the fast-growing town of Whitefish. Funding from the Forest Legacy Program would allow Stoltze to benefit from some of this inherent development value, while still ensuring that the property is kept in productive forest management in a manner that permanently protects its extraordinary wildlife, wetlands and public access. A successful purchase of a conservation easement on the Haskill Basin property would benefit hunters and anglers for generations to come.
Greg Munther, Co-chairman
Montana Backcountry Hunters and Anglers