MTPR

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

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.

Glenn Schenavar leads a meeting of sportsmen concerned wolves are depleting elk and deer in Kalispell January 30, 2019.
Nicky Ouellet / MTPR

A meeting about Montana’s wolf population turned testy Wednesday night in Kalispell.

At one point, a man stood up amidst the sea of green camo, flannel and down and called out that he’s not advocating that everybody go out and buy poison. But, “If we have to kiss heiny to the Senate or whoever it is and get it done legislatively, maybe that’s what we ought to do.”

Land and Water Conservation Fund.
LWCF.org

In Missoula Friday, Montana’s Republican U.S. Senator, Steve Daines, said Senate leadership has committed to, “Put some kind of a package together of bills, public lands bills and conservation bills that we hope to move during the lame duck session. We’ll be back in session in the U.S. Senate on November 13 and we’ll have between then and the end of the year — which will be really the end of this Congress — to put something together.”

PD

Congressman Greg Gianforte is kicking off what he’s calling a “Forest Jobs Tour” tomorrow in Helena. A press release says, “Gianforte will hold a roundtable briefing on the status of the Stonewall Project with key stakeholders.”

The Stonewall project is a U.S. Forest Service vegetation management proposal that called for logging, thinning and controlled-burning about 5,000 acres north of Lincoln. Shortly after it was approved in 2016 a federal judge temporarily halted it in response to a lawsuit from the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

Greater Yellowstone Coalition's Scott Christensen and Liz Purdy eating lunch at Follow Yer Nose BBQ in Emigrant on their way out to Jardine, MT for a conservation celebration.
Courtesy Caroline Byrd

A Canadian mining company and a pair of conservation groups have finalized agreements they say will protect two tributaries of the Yellowstone River and part of a crucial migration corridor for thousands of elk from Yellowstone National Park.

The Toronto-based mining company donated 549 acres and its water rights for the tributaries near the company's former Mineral Hill Mine site that closed in 2001.

Voters this November will decide the future of traps and snares on Montana’s public lands. A proposal to end commercial and recreational trapping on Montana’s public lands will appear on November’s ballot.
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks

This November, Montanans will vote to decide the future of a long-standing Montana tradition: trapping on public lands.

Ballot initiative I-177 would ban commercial and recreational trapping on public lands, which make up about a third of Montana. Trapping would still be legal on private lands, and the initiative would allow Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to trap nuisance or diseased animals on public lands. 

Bull elk
(PD)

Wildlife managers from 18 states with wild elk herds just wrapped up a two-day meeting in Missoula at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Mountain Lion in the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge
USFWS Mountain-Prairie (CC-BY-2.0)

Anyone who’s ever hunted mountain lions will tell you that finding just one cougar in the wild is hard. Imagine trying to count all the mountain lions in Montana….that’s a lot harder.

Sen. Steve Daines.
Courtesy photo

Montana’s Senators are back from Washington and gathering input on transportation and timber issues.

Friday Democrat Jon Tester convened several panels in Helena to prepare for when the federal highway bill expires in May. He invited representatives from transportation, Chamber of Commerce and agriculture and construction companies to talk about the importance of good highways and bridges in Montana.