By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: December 30, 2022

(MISSOULA, Mont.) – The public now has access to more high-quality hunting and hiking in western Montana, as the Bureau of Land Management has just acquired more than 6,500 acres along the Blackfoot River.

These 6,576 acres mark the second and final phase in the Ninemile-Woodchuck parcel acquisition that began earlier this year. The BLM’s Missoula Field Office has now added a total of 37,000 acres of former private timber land in the Blackfoot Watershed in a years-long project working with The Nature Conservancy and using $9,863,000 of funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“Providing public access for a multitude of recreational users and applying restoration principles to enhance wildlife habitat is paramount to the BLM’s mission,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “This acquisition also helps to advance President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative, which seeks to use partnerships and voluntary actions like this one to conserve, connect, and restore 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.”

The Woodchuck acquisition offers hunting and hiking opportunities, as well as limited summer and winter motorized use, and will be managed similarly to other BLM lands in the Blackfoot Special Recreation Management Area. In addition to public access for recreation, the goal of the acquisition is to maintain working lands, including active forest restoration and fuels projects that would improve forest health and watershed function. The public can access the area via Johnsrud Road on the Lower Blackfoot Corridor and the Ninemile Prairie Road east of Potomac.

“The Missoula Field Office is excited and grateful for the opportunity to steward an additional 6,500 acres of public land in the Blackfoot River Corridor,” said Erin Carey, Missoula Field Manager.

“The Nature Conservancy acquired this land with the goal of conserving its natural values and ensuring people will always be able to enjoy it for recreation and the joys that come with time spent in nature,” said Chris Bryant, Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy in Montana.

For more information, contact Carey at the BLM Missoula Field Office at (406) 329-3914, ecarey@blm.gov; or, Bebe Crouse at The Nature Conservancy at (406) 579-8559, bcrouse@tnc.org.


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