Montana Public Radio

Land and Water Conservation Fund

Montana’s Republican Sen. Steve Daines Aug. 11 met with conservation and public lands groups in Gardiner to celebrate the recent passage of the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act.

With the Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone National Park in the background, Daines said it was public land that brought a divided Washington, D.C. together.

The weeping wall on Glacier Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road.
David Restivo, NPS (PD)

President Donald Trump signed legislation Tuesday that will devote nearly $3 billion a year to conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands following its overwhelming approval by both parties in Congress.

Map showing the proposed Lost Trail Conservation Area
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Federal officials are proposing 100,000 acres of conservation easements in Northwest Montana to maintain public access on recently sold private timber lands.

Road crew worker installs guard rail on the iconic Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, MT.
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowstone Public Radio

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a landmark bill to permanently fund public lands management programs and maintenance in national parks.


Full funding for a federal purse that supports local conservation projects seems a step closer to reality. A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators Mar. 4 announced presidential support for a bill to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the maintenance backlog for the country’s National Parks.


A report released last month from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found a majority of land purchased by the U.S. Forest Service using Land and Water Conservation funds was in the west, which goes against LWCF guidelines.

Fly fisherman stock photo.
iStock

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock Tuesday released a new five-year plan to guide state outdoor recreation policy. The Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan outlines Montana’s goals to promote the recreation industry and the jobs that support it, and to support "outdoor recreation participation for undeserved, disadvantaged and persons with disabilities."

Correction December 12, 2019: This article has been updated to include that Sen. Jon Tester is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Environmental advocates and political leaders across Montana are pushing for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million, an amount the country hasn’t been close to since 1998.

The BLM bought 7,300 acres of former timberland in the Belmont Creek area near Missoula.
Courtesy BLM

A land conservation group says it has helped ensure that 7,300 acres of land in western Montana’s Blackfoot River corridor remains in public hands.

The Nature Conservancy says the acquisition, just east of Missoula in the Belmont Creek area, is due in large part to funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. LWCF uses royalties from offshore oil and gas development to fund outdoor projects.

A Nature Conservancy representative points out portions of the land that make up the Clearwater-Blackfoot Project in the Blackfoot Valley. January 2015.
Christopher B. Allen / Montana Public Radio

The U.S. Interior Department approved a plan to purchase 7,300 acres of former private timber lands northeast of Missoula. 

The former Plum Creek Timber company property was acquired by The Nature Conservancy in 2014. And now, as part of a deal several years in the works, that non-profit is selling it to the Bureau of Land management for $5.6 million.

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