July 22, 2020
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Attn: Ben Gilles
922 Bootlegger Trail
Great Falls, MT 59404
RE: Montana BHA Supports Proposed Lost Trail Conservation Area
The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers represents thousands of “public land owners” dedicated to maintaining fish and wildlife habitat and fair chase hunting and fishing opportunities. We are pleased to offer comment during this scoping phase of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to create the Lost Trail Conservation Area in Flathead and Lincoln Counties in northwest Montana. Our Montana Chapter includes many members who have long hunted and fished within the Kootenai and Flathead National Forests and surrounding private timber lands, including the 116,000-acre proposed Conservation Area.
Our organization’s values are in strong alignment with the first two of the three primary objectives of this land project:
Preserving important wildlife habitat and migration corridors;
Providing public recreation access; and
Allowing the property to be sustainably managed for timber production.
We look forward to the full results of the Environmental Assessment that the Service will be preparing. Pending those results, we fully support the planned use of Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) monies to complete the easement purchases, as the LWCF has played a critical role in generating access and opportunity for Montanans for over 50 years. Thank you for this opportunity to participate in this public process.
Molly Elliott, Flathead Valley Regional Leader, Life Member
Jake Deitz, Life Member
Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers