LETTER: Montana BHA Supports Ninemile Woodchuck Area Acquisition

May 24, 2021

Dept. of Interior, Bureau of Land Management
Missoula Field Office
3255 Fort Missoula Rd.
Missoula, MT 59804

Re: LWCF Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Ninemile Woodchuck Area Acquisition

The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers submits this comment in support of
the Ninemile Woodchuck Proposed Land Aquisition. The Montana Chapter’s more than 3,200
members have a keen interest in the permanent protection of Montana lands (more than 11,000
acres here), as our organization is dedicated to protecting the value that wild lands, wildlife and
wild fish bring to our great state. We strive to protect large parcels of backcountry fish and
wildlife habitat, as well as the opportunity for traditional non-motorized hunting and fishing
experiences.

Acquisitions of new fee title lands by BLM, such as those proposed here, provide an invaluable
resource to Montanans, and in this case, particularly those in Missoula county. As BLM is
aware, population growth in Missoula county has been dramatic over the last decade.
Enlargement and development of public access and public land holdings will only serve to assist
with distribution of impacts from growing public use and enhancement of the natural resource
user experience.

Of particular significance with this acquisition is the close proximity to the Blackfoot River
Watershed. This location along one of Montana’s most beloved waterways and watersheds
means these lands will be heavily utilized by the public for recreational opportunities. In
addition, securing additional lands under public ownership will ensure that these lands will
provide future ecosystem services and sustainable natural resource opportunies for generations to
come. Furthermore, the unique funding mechanism by the Land and Water Conservation Fund is
one that Montana BHA and BHA nationally have long supported.

This opportunity to enlarge public land ownership will not only provide greater public access to
recreational lands near town, but will also permanently protect the biologically rich habitat that
contributes to the abundance of diversity of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife in this area.

For all of these reasons, Montana BHA offers this comment in support of the Ninemile
Woodchuck Proposed Land Acquisition, as currently proposed.

Sincerely,

Graham Coppes, Conservation Leader
Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
[email protected]

About Graham Coppes

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