Celebrating a Montana Public Access Project

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Simply put, it was an evening to gather and celebrate. The Blackfoot Clearwater Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation held its annual banquet to not only raise funds for elk and elk country in Montana and beyond but to celebrate the Holland Lake acquisition.

RMEF staffers presented Chris Bowling, district ranger with the Flathead National Forest, with an Elk Country Partnership Award. The project wrapped up in late 2017 in the scenic Swan Valley.

RMEF used funding from the vital Land and Water Conservation Fund program for the project which ranked eighth nationally on the White House administration’s list. A conservation-minded landowner sold the property to the RMEF which conveyed it to the Flathead National Forest placing it in public hands for all to enjoy. If sold to a private entity, it could have been lost to subdivision resulting in a loss of public access to this and surrounding lands. The Holland Lake project is an example of how important LWCF is to conserve the best of the best of Montana elk country and improve public access.

Montana is home to more than 13,000 RMEF members and 24 chapters.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 988 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Montana with a combined value of more than $181.6 million. These projects protected or enhanced 826,584 acres of habitat and have opened or improved public access to 290,629 acres.

Photo information: USFS District Ranger Chris Dowling, Flathead National Forest, RMEF Regional Director Jared Wold & RMEF Senior Land Program Manager Mike Mueller (left to right)