August 30, 2023
Kootenai National Forest Supervisor
31374 US Hwy. 2
Libby, Montana 59923-3022
RE: LWCF Falls Creek Project
Dear Mr. Benson,
My name is Aaron Agosto, I am writing on behalf of the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Our organization represents over 3,000 active members in the state of Montana, who are engaged and passionate about our public lands, and the conservation of our wild places. We are a grassroots organization with a diverse membership, and a focus on maintaining, and increasing access opportunities to our shared public lands.
The U.S. Forest Service, with assistance from the Vital Ground Foundation is seeking Land and Water Conservation funds to permanently protect 160 acres of natural habitat around Savage Lake and permanently protect access to Falls Creek Falls near Troy, Montana. I am writing to express our enthusiastic support for the use of Land and Water Conservation Funding to acquire the Falls Creek property with the intent to transfer ownership to the Kootenai National Forest.
Northwest Montana has been experiencing rapid growth over the last several years, with growth comes the encroachment of development onto our wild lands, which in turns threatens habitat connectivity for vulnerable species such as the iconic grizzly bear, canada lynx, gray wolf, and mule deer. Acquisition projects like this, especially ones on the valley floor help safeguard the future of viable habitat for animals like these, and others, many of which our members hope to spend time in pursuit of.
This project also helps safeguard public access to Falls Creek Falls, which has been historically granted through the kindness of the landowners. With development, often comes subdivision, and usually the loss of access agreements like this. Acquisition of this property by the Kootenai National Forest will help safeguard Montana’s legacy as The Last Best Place.
Flathead Valley Leader
Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers