Montana BHA members are encouraged to weigh in on this proposal. Find more information and send in your own comments here.
May 24, 2023
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
490 N. Meridian
Kalispell, MT 59901
Re: Proposed Thompson River Conservation Easement
Dear Ms. Breidinger:
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a grassroots conservation organization with roughly 3,000 dues-paying members in Montana. Our Montana Chapter is thrilled to see Green Diamond Resources partner with the Trust for Public Lands and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to permanently protect public access and wildlife habitat, and to help secure the future of hunting and fishing in northwest Montana by entering these proposed 48,000 acres of active timberlands into a permanent conservation easement.
The Thompson River corridor is a historically important recreation resource for residents of Flathead and Sanders Countries. While NW Montana isn’t ranked among the best in the state for elk hunting, this area provides some of the best opportunities for local residents to hunt elk. Previously owned by Plum Creek Timber Company, and then Weyerhaeuser, these lands were managed as a contiguous parcel with public recreational access allowed through the goodwill of the landowners. The recent sale and subdivision of these lands to Southern Pine Plantations and then to Green Diamond Resources has created uncertainty as to what the future of public access will look like. Entering this acreage into a perpetual conservation easement shows that Green Diamond is committed to Montana’s gold standard of forestry legacy of allowing public access and providing good stewardship through conservation. And it removes the uncertainty of what’s to become of these critical lands in the future.
Much of Montana has experienced unprecedented growth over these last several years, Flathead County especially. Increased growth and development almost always come at the loss of wildlife habitat, and by excluding these lands from future development, Montana FWP and Green Diamond are protecting critical lands for deer, moose, elk, and bighorn sheep, among a host of other native wildlife, that all depend on large swaths of contagious forest.
Montana BHA is deeply thankful for the Forest Legacy Program’s consideration of this project. This proposal would fully cement these lands as part of Montana’s hunting and fishing legacy and provide endless opportunities for the enjoyment of our great outdoors for generations to come. We offer our full support of this proposal and are willing to help with any future needs to make this project a reality.
Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Volunteer Flathead Valley Regional Leader