On December 21, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) finalized the purchase of 772 acres of intact forestland along the Flathead River near Columbia Falls from former landowner Columbia Falls Aluminum Company (CFAC), a subsidiary of Glencore, Inc. FWP will now manage the property as the Bad Rock Canyon Wildlife Management Area and safeguard critical wildlife habitat while allowing public access.
The outpouring of public support during two public comment periods generated over hundreds of comments, supporting the project. Strong support from public officials in Columbia Falls, Flathead County, and the state (including the Land Board and the Fish and Wildlife Commission) was critical to carry the project forward.
The Flathead Land Trust worked closely with FWP to broker the land deal and with the Flathead Lakers to raise needed funds to match grants secured by FWP. Over 250 individuals donated to raise the match. Grants and donations received included Heart of the Rockies Initiative, The Kendeda Fund, Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust, AGL Foundation, Cinnabar Foundation, Cross Charitable Foundation, Whitefish Community Foundation, Headwaters Montana, Montana Trout Unlimited, Flathead Valley Trout Unlimited, Flathead Wildlife, Flathead Audubon, and Vital Ground Foundation.
What’s next? The Bad Rock Canyon property was purchased with MT Habitat funding, which requires that critical wildlife habitat on the property be protected. The property will close during the winter, from December 2 until May 15th to safeguard critical elk winter range and other wildlife habitat while allowing public access. The project secures permanent public access to the property, including a limited opportunity for hunting and a 3-mile community trail constructed by Gateway to Glacier Trail for use by hikers, bikers, birdwatchers and others.
Thank you for supporting this conservation project!
FWP takes ownership of Bad Rock Wildlife Management Area, Hungry Horse News
FWP adds new wildlife management area, NBC Montana
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks finalizes purchase of 772 acres near Columbia Falls for new Bad Rock Canyon Wildlife Management Area