MISSOULA, Mont.—An important migration corridor for elk, grizzly bears, Canada lynx and other wildlife is now permanently protected and open to public access in Montana’s scenic Swan Valley.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Lolo National Forest worked with a landowner to purchase and convey the 638 acres to the U.S. National Forest (USFS). It is now under the management of the Lolo National Forest.
“This property sits in a wildlife movement corridor between the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex to the east and Mission Mountain Wilderness to the west in one of the most biologically important areas in western Montana,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “There existed a very real threat for development but thanks to the vision and patience of the Ralph Cruz family and their desire to see this property conserved, this land is now forever protected and accessible for everyone to use and enjoy.”
“This important conservation project would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of local forest service officials and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,” said Cruz.
The property is approximately 65 miles northeast of Missoula and features mature forests including some aspen groves, grassy meadows, streams and riparian areas. It contains headwaters of Richmond Creek, a tributary to the Clearwater River, and a small unnamed lake that provides habitat for swan, loon, waterfowl and other nongame species.
It is also a designated core area for Canada lynx and grizzly bears within the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem and is near another RMEF-USFS collaborative effort, the 2017 Holland Lake project.
A high priority for the USFS, this project received funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and full support from the Montana Congressional Delegation.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded 35 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.4 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, elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.