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Land Deal Could Aid Grizzly Bear Connectivity In The Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem

The Kootenai River near Libby, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney
Montana Public Radio
The Cabinet-Yaak grizzly recovery zone is split by the Kootenai River. The Yaak lies to the north. The Cabinets to the south.

A proposed land deal between the state and a nonprofit foundation could help connect an important piece of grizzly bear habitat between the Cabinet and Purcell mountains near the small town of Troy.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on a proposal to purchase a 50-acre conservation easement along the Kootenai River from the nonprofit Vital Ground. The easement would protect the area from future development, and is a small piece of a historical effort to maintain connectivity between the Purcell and Cabinet mountains.

In 2012, FWP solidified a 28,000-acre easement in the area. Both FWP and Vital Ground have been working for years to maintain habitat for grizzly bears making their way between the two mountain ranges in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, which wildlife officials say is home to roughly 55 bears.

Comments on the latest easement are due by Feb. 17.

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