Plum Creek Timber Co. announced Monday it has reached an agreement to sell approximately 165,000 acres of forestland in Montana and Washington to The Nature Conservancy for $134 million.
The sale is part of an effort to unite the “checkerboard land ownership patterns” of the lands, according to a press release sent by Plum Creek. The agreement includes timberlands located at relatively high elevations with slower growing trees. While less productive for timber operations, these lands are desired for forest conservation, recreation, public access, and ecological protection. They are among the most ecologically diverse and intact biological systems remaining in the United States, including lands in the lower Blackfoot Valley near Missoula, Montana, located in the Crown of the Continent, and also lands on both sides of Interstate 90 between Snoqualmie Pass and Ellensburg in Kittitas County, Washington, located in the Heart of the Cascades.
“Plum Creek has a strong history of conservation and is pleased to partner in the sale of these lands to accommodate the public interest in securing permanent conservation that protects ecological and recreational values,” said Rick Holley, chief executive officer for Plum Creek. “This is an important conservation project that recognizes the highest benefit these lands offer — protecting ecological values and helping to maintain public access. We are pleased that we were able to work with TNC to conserve some of the nation’s most important forest areas,” said Holley.
The property will be acquired by The Nature Conservancy in two phases, the first closing in the fourth quarter of 2014 and the second closing by end of the first quarter of 2015. The transaction is subject to various customary closing conditions, including but not limited to the buyer’s due diligence review of the lands to be purchased and approval by each party’s board of directors.