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800 acres of Flathead Valley land set aside for winter habitat

The Flathead National Forest is now taking comments on how it should manage the three forks of the Flathead River.
U.S. Forest Service
North fork of Flathead River.

State wildlife officials with the help of a Flathead Valley conservation group have acquired nearly 800 acres along the Flathead River near Columbia Falls. The acquisition will protect winter range for wildlife.
The Bad Rock Wildlife Management Area is one of the last undeveloped tracts of land along the Flathead River and is important habitat for deer, elk and moose as well as grizzly bears.

The state purchased the property from the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company for a little over $7 million. About $6.5 million came from the U.S. Forest Service’s legacy program and the federal land and water conservation fund. The Flathead Land Trust raised the remaining money through local donations.

The land will be closed to the public during winter and spring months to protect range for big game, but will feature three miles of trails and some hunting opportunities.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.