Montana Public Radio

Plum Creek Timber

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.

Weyerhaeuser closed its lumber and plywood mills in Columbia Falls last week.
Eric Whitney

A job at the lumber mills in Columbia Falls was supposed to be the kind of job you’d have forever. But forever came to an end last Friday, when the Weyerhaeuser Company sawed its last logs at its lumber and plywood mills in the industrial heart of the Flathead Valley. The mills had been open since the late 1940s.

Weyerhaeuser closed its lumber and plywood mills in Columbia Falls last week.
Eric Whitney

Wednesday’s announcement that Weyerhaeuser will close its Columbia Falls lumber and plywood mills, along with its administrative offices, brought an avalanche of reaction -- none of it good.

Weyerhaeuser closed its lumber and plywood mills in Columbia Falls last week.
Eric Whitney

One of the world's largest private owners of timberlands is shutting down two mills in Columbia Falls later this year.

The Weyerhaeuser Company announced the closure of its lumber mill and plywood mill today.

Montana Legacy Project map showing the location of Nevada Lake WMA lands.
Courtesy MontanaFWP

Today The Nature Conservancy and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced a transfer of hundreds of acres of former industrial timber land near Lincoln into public management.

The Nevada Lake Wildlife Management Area southeast of Helmville doubled in size with the land transfer.

Hundreds of Montana timber workers will keep their jobs in mills in Evergreen and Columbia Falls, this after forest products giants Plum Creek Timber and Weyerhaeuser consummated their merger today.

Governor Steve Bullock today wrote Weyerhaeuser Corporation, urging it to maintain jobs in Montana and the legacy of public access that Plum Creek Timber established.

Weyerhaeuser is buying Plum Creek Timber for over $8 billion. Montana Wood Products Association Executive Vice President, Julia Altemus suspects the merger agreement will have little impact on Montana’s remaining wood products industry, including Plum Creek’s medium density fiberboard plant in Columbia Falls.

Plum Creek Timber's Columbia Falls fiberboard plant
Katrin Frye

A Columbia Falls fiberboard production line will open a bit later than expected after a small explosion and fire shut it down late last week.