MTPR

Land and Water Conservation Fund

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.

Montana Sen. Steve Daines speaks during a City Club Missoula forum in Missoula, August 12, 2019.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s Republican U.S. senator maintained his opposition to gun control legislation during his appearance Monday at a Missoula luncheon.

Some in the audience vehemently disagreed with his position.

A U.S. House committee on Wednesday advanced a bill to permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, would make $900 million available for expenditure annually.

The LWCF uses royalties from offshore oil and gas development to buy lands and make them public, and to fund other outdoor amenities, like fishing access sites along the Missouri River in Montana.

Sen. Jon Tester takes questions from the audience at a town hall meeting in Missoula June 21, 2019.
Kevin Trevellyan / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Jon Tester met with constituents at a town hall event Friday in Missoula. About 150 people packed into one of the meeting rooms in Missoula’s Holiday Inn Parkside Friday to interact with Tester.

The town hall was an open door event with no invite needed. It was his second in person town hall of the year and his ninth since President Trump took office.

The Blackfoot River near Belmont Creek.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-NC) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

13,000 acres of land in the lower Blackfoot watershed may become public.

Tuesday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released an environmental assessment on a proposal to do that in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy. A 30-day public comment period to evaluate the impacts of acquiring the land is now open.

Congress Approves Major Public Lands, Conservation Bill

Feb 26, 2019
Emigrant Peak in Montana's Paradise Valley. The valley is north of Yellowstone Park near the location of two gold mines proposed in 2015.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

WASHINGTON (AP) — A wide-ranging bill that revives a popular conservation program, adds 1.3 million acres of new wilderness, expands several national parks and creates five new national monuments has won congressional approval.

The measure is the largest public lands bill approved by Congress in more than a decade. The House passed the bill Tuesday, 363-62, sending it to the White House for the president's signature.

Emigrant Peak in Montana's Paradise Valley. The valley is north of Yellowstone Park near the location of two gold mines proposed in 2015.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

A major package of public lands legislation has passed the U.S. Senate. It includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.

"Today is — it’s one of the greatest days of my life. It’s amazing, and it really restores faith in the system, too," says Colin Davis, owner of Chico Hot Springs.

Land and Water Conservation Fund.
LWCF.org

Montana’s U.S. senators expect a bill that would permanently re-establish the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to move forward this week. The LWCF expired in September due to congressional inaction.

Sen. Tester urges the crowd to advocate for LWCF funding at an August 24, 2015 rally in Missoula, MT.
Josh Burnham / MTPR

The bipartisan congressional panel that will determine the fate of President Donald Trump’s demand for an almost $6 billion border wall holds its first meeting Wednesday. And Montana’s senior Senator, Jon Tester, has a seat at that table.

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


Hundreds of Montanans are expected to gather under the State Capitol rotunda in Helena on Friday to rally in support of public lands.

“Public lands, really for a lot of people, I think, define what it means to be a Montanan," says Kayje Booker of the Montana Wilderness Association. "And our outdoor way of life is the reason a lot of us live here in Montana.”

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