The Thompson Chain of Lakes and surrounding area is the target of a massive conservation project being considered for protection from development under a new proposal by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) officials, and they want your feedback on it.
FWP is looking to develop up to 114,000 acres of timberland easement, in partnering up with private landowners SPP Montana and The Trust for Public Land, with the ultimate goal of the “Montana Great Outdoors Project” conserving and stitching together over 325,000 acres of land when all is said and done.
Conservation easements are a creative way to protect public space, and are essentially legal agreements between landowners and qualified organizations that protect the land while the owners are living, and long after they’re gone. Essentially, the landowners and the organization form a partnership whereby the landowner continues to own and manage the property within a set of mutually agreed-upon restrictions, and the public gets to enjoy.
According to the Land for Public Trust:
“The proposed conservation easement would preclude development, ensure sustainable timber management, maintain wood-product jobs, protect incredible wildlife habitat and landscape connectivity, and provide permanent public access to extraordinary recreation lands.”
As the fund continues to fundraise money WP Regional Communication and Education Program Manager Dillon Tabish explained that they’ve opened up a 30-day “scoping period” where residents can bring any questions, comments, and concerns they have might have about the project, which may ultimately become part of the environmental assessments that accompany projects such as this.
“We want to engage with neighbors in the area, members of the public, everyone, so that we could put a good environmental assessment together that is really in touch with concerns or issues or ideas that they may have.”
If you have something to say about it, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject of Proposed Conservation Easement.