Conservation Groups Announce Land Deal

By Beacon Staff

Two conservation groups have announced the purchase of nearly 112,000 acres of Montana timberland from Seattle-based Plum Creek Timber Co.

The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land helped arrange the purchase of the land in the Clearwater, Lolo, Rock Creek and Swan Valleys. The purchase was financed by $250 million in federal money and the land is expected to be transferred to the U.S. Forest Service.

Tuesday’s purchase was the second phase of the Montana Legacy Project, which will eventually involve a total of 320,000 acres of Plum Creek lands being conveyed to state or federal agencies at a total cost of $510 million.

The first phase — the sale of 130,000 acres of land northwest and east of Missoula — was completed in December. The final phase, about 69,000 acres in the Swan and Clearwater drainages, is scheduled to be complete some time next year.

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