Conservation easements will protect 3,900 acres of private working forests owned by Forest Capital Partners, LLC at McArthur Lake, one of the most important big game migration routes in the Idaho Panhandle.
The conservation agreements finalized yesterday between Forest Capital Partners and the State of Idaho will protect key habitat and the timber economy in an area used heavily by elk, moose and other wildlife moving between the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaak Mountains.
Forest Capital Partners will continue to manage the working forest for timber production, and the Idaho Department of Lands will hold the conservation easements. The Nature Conservancy participated in the negotiations and is the sponsoring land trust for the project.
”Partnerships like this are important for achieving sustainably managed working forests, while providing critical wildlife habitat and supporting local communities with jobs and revenues,” says Scott Ketchum, Northern Inland Region Manager for Forest Capital Partners.
The easements were funded in part by the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, a competitive federal grant program that promotes both conservation and working forests across the nation. In Idaho, the Forest Service works with the Idaho Department of Lands to administer this program. Funding was also provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Northwest Wildlife Conservation Initiative. The McArthur Lake conservation partnership received support from the full Idaho congressional delegation.
“This project promotes our service-forestry mission of keeping working forests working,” says Ara Andrea of Idaho Department of Lands. “These easements will conserve critical wildlife habitat areas, as well as continue forest-products-based contributions to the local economy. I believe that great success has been accomplished here due to the collaborative, participatory work done on behalf of all the project partners.”
The McArthur Lake easements were selected by the Forest Legacy Program as the third best project overall in its 2010 national ranking process.
Robyn Miller, The Nature Conservancy’s Inland Northwest senior conservation manager, says this project typifies the Conservancy’s approach of keeping working lands working and partnering closely with local communities.
“These conservation easements are our best and last hope to protect important big game habitat in this area,” says Miller. “We thank Forest Capital Partners for their shared vision for this land, and our agency partners for ensuring this vital place was protected. Without the Idaho Department of Lands and the Forest Service, we could not have achieved such a great outcome.”
# # #
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.