Today, The Nature Conservancy and its partner, the Trust for Public Land, completed the final phase of the Montana Legacy Project. This is the culmination of an unprecedented partnership between private and public partners to secure the future of one of the last places on the planet where not a single plant or animal is known to have gone extinct in more than 200 years.
The Montana Legacy Project purchase of more than 310,000 acres from the Plum Creek Timber Company is a critical link to conserving the Crown of the Continent – a 10-million acre natural region that encompasses Glacier National Park and provides refuge for some of the last grizzly bears, Canada lynx and wolverines left in the lower 48 states.
This is more than a great conservation story. It’s a story of the timber industry in transition, a new attitude toward conservation and the passion of an eclectic collection of partners.
As the economics of logging changed in the Northern Rockies, the Conservancy and its partners saw an opportunity to conserve hundreds of thousands of acres for the benefit of both people and wildlife.
Kat Imhoff, State Director of the Montana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, said “The Montana Legacy Project not only preserves habitat for wildlife, it ensures that people are still able to use this land for recreation, as a source of clean water and as a place to make a living through activities such as ranching and sustainable forestry.”
Fortunately, others recognized the opportunity as well. U.S. Senator Max Baucus, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and the Montana State Legislature all lent essential support to the project; as did a broad coalition of partners in the local communities within the region. It is proof of the tremendous success that can be achieved when public and private partners find common ground.
Local rancher and logger Denny Iverson has nothing but praise for the project, “We have the opportunity to keep a way of life in the West that is shrinking everywhere else you go. This project has been a dream of mine for a long time.”
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
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.