CHOTEAU, MONT., August 20, 2019—Beginning Wednesday, August 28, 2019 members of the public will be able to enjoy a newly acquired parcel of land—442 acres—in the Falls Creek area. This piece of land was once in private ownership, but through the invaluable partnerships with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Lewis and Clark County, the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest will add this parcel to the Rocky Mountain Ranger District (RMRD) and manage it as National Forest System lands.
“This is an example of a great partnership that provides critical public access to 25,000 acres National Forest system lands,” Forest Supervisor Bill Avey said. “We’re very thankful to the Barrett family, Lewis and Clark County, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and all of the partners who worked so hard to make this happen.”
This parcel of land will be managed in the same way that adjacent National Forest System lands are managed: non-motorized, including all trails in the area.
The Falls Creek property is located along the Rocky Mountain Front, about 30 miles west of Augusta. In addition to providing important wildlife and fish habitat, this acquisition will provide for public access into more remote areas of the RMRD, including land within the newly designated Wilderness area through the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act.
“This landscape provides quality habitat for many species of wildlife including elk, whitetail deer, grizzly and black bears, and mountain lions,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “It’s also important spring, summer and fall range for elk in a hunting district (HD 422) where the population is well over objective, in part, because gaining access has been so difficult for a long time.”
The RMRD plans to manage this parcel of land in the same way as it manages the adjacent Forest Service lands. For the short-term, there is a trailhead along the Dearborn Road, west of Falls Creek, where recreationalists can begin their hiking, biking, and horseback/stock-use adventures. There will be no overnight camping permitted at the trailhead parking area; however, dispersed camping may occur between the Dearborn Road and river.
District staff will be available at the trailhead when it is open to the public on Wednesday, August 28, 2019. If you are interested in more information, contact RMRD District Ranger Mike Munoz at 406-466-5341.