A Great Falls Couple has sold a 262 acre parcel within the boundaries of a National Forest to open the area up for hunting access.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced Tuesday the parcel in the Little Belt Mountains will be conveyed to the Lewis and Clark National Forest.
MISSOULA, Mont.—What was previously a 262-acre parcel of private property within the boundaries of a national forest in central Montana is now in the public’s hands thanks to a conservation-minded family and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
“We appreciate the Jennings family for their desire to permanently protect the vital wildlife values of their property, place it in public ownership and open it to hunters, anglers and others to utilize and enjoy,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.
RMEF purchased the parcel in the Little Belt Mountains and conveyed it to the Lewis and Clark National Forest. It features open grassy meadows, forests and aspen groves as well as riparian habitat from Wilson Creek, which crosses the property, and two springs.
“We are so grateful to the Jennings Family and the members of the RMEF, whose generosity has ensured that this critical land is provided for future generations of people and wildlife,” said Bill Avey, Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest supervisor.
The property provides spring, summer and fall range for elk, and offers important habitat for deer, moose and a wide range of other bird and animal life.
It is located about 45 miles north of White Sulphur Springs and approximately 13 miles east of the 8,220-acre Tenderfoot Acquisition, completed by RMEF and its partners in 2015.
Chuck and Gerry Jennings owned the acreage since 2008. Gerry was inducted into the 2014 inaugural Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who made significant and lasting contributions to the restoration and conservation of Montana’s wildlife and wild places.
“We purchased the land to enjoy its beauty, isolation, wildlife and recreational opportunities. Eventually we realized that our parcel of land belonged to the wildlands surrounding it, thus returning it to the public as part of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest,” said Chuck and Gerry Jennings.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) provided funding for the project.
RMEF uses earnings, interest and appreciation generated from the endowment to solely further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk reintroduction and hunting heritage.