January 12, 2024
Amanda James, Field Manager
Bureau of Land Management - Dillon Field Office
1005 Selway Drive
Dillon, MT 59725
On behalf of the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and our roughly 3,000 dues-paying members, please consider the below comments outlining our support of Alternative 2, the Proposed Action, for the BLM to acquire the approximately 655-acre Lost Creek property using Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars.
Our members value wild places, quality habitat, public access and the fair-chase hunting and fishing opportunities these things provide. Our support for pursuing LWCF monies to acquire this property should come as no surprise. This important parcel is bordered by existing public lands managed by both the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the BLM. It contains high-value wildlife habitat consisting of a sagebrush steppe community and the willow-dominated Lost Creek riparian corridor. Additionally, an open route that touches the northern edge of the property would provide increased public access for both hunters and other recreationalists to enjoy this and adjoining parcels of public lands.
This area provides high-value multi-season wildlife habitat for species our members take special interest in including mule deer, antelope, elk and the greater sage grouse. Crucially, the undeveloped winter range for big game that this property provides is an important part of the ecosystem and valuable component of this proposed acquisition.
The proposal to continue well-managed livestock grazing on the property is another benefit, along with climate change mitigation and watershed health. The entirety of the high divide area is nationally known for its exceptional habitat, and this acquisition stands to provide unique public benefits in an extremely important landscape.
In closing, we encourage the BLM to move forward with Alternative 2, the Proposed Action using the available funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Regional Board Member, Madison Valley
Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers