The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, U.S. Forest Service and Stimson Lumber Company recently hosted U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) on a tour near Frenchtown, Montana, of the Edith Peak project, an acquisition of two parcels held by Stimson totaling 1,120 acres within the surrounding Lolo National Forest. Stimson was interested in seeing the properties become public land to be enjoyed by hunters and other recreationists. The Forest Service wanted to address this “checkerboard” land ownership issue so it could better manage the area’s natural resources and recreational opportunities.
RMEF secured Congressional approval for the project’s $425,000 cost, which came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Last spring, funding for the project was in jeopardy during the federal budget process so RMEF asked Sen. Daines and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) to intervene. Daines secured support for the funding from the Administration while Senator Tester made sure it was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Representatives from the Forest Service, RMEF and Stimson Lumber Company joined Sen. Daines and staff on the Lolo National Forest overlooking the parcels and Edith Peak on a picture-perfect fall day. RMEF’s Jennifer Doherty, the Forest Service’s Janne Joy and Stimson’s Doug Smith provided a description of how the project came together and what it means for the area, its wildlife and the public.
RMEF President & CEO Kyle Weaver also presented Smith with a “Habitat Partner” award in recognition of the company’s longstanding work with RMEF on projects like this that benefit elk and other wildlife.