Rey to Discuss Plum Creek Talks in Missoula

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey will be in Missoula on Monday to answer questions about controversial closed-door talks between the U.S. Forest Service and the Plum Creek Timber Co.

Rey contends those talks merely clarified old forest-road agreements, guaranteeing Plum Creek access across public land for all purposes, including real estate development.

But critics worry the easement negotiations could pave the way for extensive real estate sales, in what is now working timberland.

Rey will meet with county commissioners from throughout western Montana, as well as the public, from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, at Missoula’s Holiday Inn Downtown at the Park.

Plum Creek is the country’s largest private landowner, with 8 million acres nationwide and 1.2 million acres in Montana. Some 2 million of those acres are targeted for sale in coming years; however, the company won’t say which acres those are.

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