MISSOULA, Mont. —-(Ammoland.com)- A 120-acre tract of wildlife and riparian habitat in western Montana, under threat of development, is now permanently protected and open to public access thanks to timely collaborative work by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners.
“This project is a big win for a multitude of reasons,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “It’s a win for elk and other wildlife. It’s a win for multiple-use and it’s a win for everyone seeking better access to our public lands.”
The property is located immediately to the north of the Bass Creek Recreation Area (BRCA) between Missoula and Hamilton. It lies at the base of the Bitterroot Mountains, borders Sweeney Creek and is approximately two miles east of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. It is also surrounded on three sides by the Bitterroot National Forest while a five-acre subdivision lies immediately to the east.
“This project maintains habitat values and prevents fragmentation of vital habitat for elk and other wildlife,” said Larry Irwin, RMEF board member who lives nearby in the Bitterroot Valley. “It also enhances recreation activity in the popular Bass Creek area and prevents the conversion of a non-motorized trail into a permanent vehicle route.”
A bank previously foreclosed on the land with the intent of selling it on the private market. If that happened, the Bitterroot National Forest could have been obligated to grant permanent access via the establishment of a motorized road through the property. Instead, RMEF and its partners worked together to purchase the land and convey it to the Bitterroot National Forest, thereby placing it in the public’s hands.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for the Forest Service, our partners, and most of all, public land users,” said Tami Sabol, Stevensville District ranger. “The close proximity of the