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Gifts of Conservation

Growing the Swan River State Forest

The Swan River State Forest expanded by 14,624 acres with the Conservancy’s sale of the land to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). The land is covered by a conservation easement, held by the state department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. The easement will limit permanent development of the land while allowing it to remain a working forest.

The state forest sits in one of Montana’s most cherished places. The Swan River, fed by sparkling streams tumbling out of the rugged Mission and Swan Mountains, winds through a spectacular valley, lush with wetlands. It’s a place inhabited by animals all but vanished in most of the country: grizzly bears, Canada lynx, wolverine, and the enigmatic fisher. Loons, eagles, and a host of other birds and wildlife are sustained by the forests and waters of the Swan.

But the true conservation impact of this sale is far greater than the acreage within this transaction. That’s because this land includes more than 18, disconnected, mile-square sections of private land that were scattered like cards within the larger state forest. For more than a century, the land had been logged by a succession of owners until it was purchased by the Conservancy as part of our 310,586 acre Montana Legacy Project. One of the Conservancy’s main goals with this project was to re-connect fractured holdings such as this so that the large, wild lands needed by wildlife and cherished by so many Montanans can be made whole and resilient for many generations to come.

It had long been a dream of the state to fold these fractured parcels into its surrounding holdings and, now, the dream has become a reality. Download a map (pdf 200 KB)

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