Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a 5.8 million acre conservation area in southern Montana along the Idaho border. Comments are accepted until November 27, 2023. The Missouri Headwaters Conservation area, if approved will attempt to acquire private lands within the boundaries. FWS needs to establish a conservation area in order to use funds to purchase conservation easements. Their goal is to purchase 250,000 acres in conservation easements. The conservation easements, if acquired would only make up 4.3% of the entire conservation area. This proposal is an attempt to lock up and control a massive portion of Southern Montana. Conservation Areas, give priority to wildlife and wildlife habitat over any other use such as recreation, timber harvest, mining, drilling and grazing.
Local elected officials and communities are against this proposal for a multitude of reasons. This designation could hurt current and future mining and drilling operations in which their economy is built on. There are also thousands of small mining claims within the proposed area. Recreation also play a huge role in this area with the Tobacco Root Mountains that boasts amazing motorized recreation opportunities. The Centennial Mountains are also located within this boundary. The conservation area would provide a designated boundary that would restrict management options for the U.S. Forest service and Bureau of Land Management. Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas already exist within the proposed conservation area. This designation will affect every single form of use and every single recreation modality.
FINAL IN-PERSON PUBLIC SCOPING MEETINGS:
- October 23, 6-8pm in Butte at the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives Building, 17 W. Quartz St, Butte, MT 59701
This proposal, simply put is a land grab that would ruin the rich gold mining, recreation and grazing history of the area. Fill out the form below to send a comment to oppose this land grab.