MISSOULA, Mont.—A wildlife management area in west-central Montana is now 33 percent larger thanks to collaborative conservation work by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), Montana Fish & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Lewis and Clark County Open Space Program and the Cinnabar Foundation.
The project permanently protects and opens access to 720 acres of wildlife habitat while also improving access to more than 5,000 acres of nearby public lands.
“This transaction spawns a myriad of benefits,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Prime wildlife and riparian habitat is protected in perpetuity which benefits many different species, public access is created and greatly improved, and the threat of private residential development is gone forever.”
RMEF purchased the two tracts from Stimson Lumber and immediately conveyed them at no cost to FWP which added the acreage to expand the Canyon Creek Wildlife Management Area.
“We are very grateful to the RMEF for brokering this deal and Montana Fish & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Lewis and Clark County Open Space Program and the Cinnabar Foundation for their funding support,” said Ken McDonald, FWP Wildlife Division administrator “This is a great addition to the Canyon Creek Wildlife Management Area that protects some key wildlife habitat and that Montana citizens will be able to forever enjoy.”
The property is an important wildlife corridor and provides key habitat for elk, moose, whitetail deer, grizzly and black bear, mountain lion, Canada lynx and wolverine as well raptors, upland game birds and other species. It is also home to Specimen, Canyon and Weino Creeks which make up more than two miles of riparian habitat –key to brown, eastern brook, rainbow and westslope cutthroat trout– that fall within the Missouri River Watershed.
The public can also access the Continental Divide Trailhead via the property across adjacent National Forest land.
The Montana Fish &Wildlife Conservation Trust, Lewis and Clark County Open Lands Program, Cinnabar Foundation and RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment provided funding for the project.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 220,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 6.9 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK. Take action: join and/or donate.