The project was the result of a collaborative effort by landowner Darrell Worm, Flathead Land Trust, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Bonneville Power Administration.
“My hope for this unique property has been that it could be preserved for the people of Montana to enjoy and that its historic character could be protected,” Worm, a Kalispell attorney, said. “I am thrilled that through the efforts of the Flathead Land Trust and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks this hope can be realized.” To accomplish this he agreed to a “bargain sale” of his property to the state and, using proceeds from the sale, to fund the restoration of the historic barn built by the original homesteaders of the property, Katzman said.
The Worm property will be managed as the North Shore Wildlife Management Area and adjoins the sate Wildlife Management Area and State Park that are 161 acres in size. The property is also adjacent to the 1,887-acre Flathead Lake Waterfowl Production Area administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation easements held on private land by Montana Land Reliance and Flathead Land Trust.
The Worm property includes agricultural lands that frequently flood in the spring during snowmelt and provide a food source for migratory waterfowl, Katzman said. This conservation project helps protect Flathead Lake’s water quality and adds to the protection of land used by tens of thousands of migratory birds.
The north shore of Flathead Lake is as an important refueling stop each spring for migratory birds as they make their long journey from wintering grounds in Mexico to their breeding grounds in Canada, according to Laura Katzman of the Flathead Land Trust.
To learn more about Flathead River to Lake Initiative partners’ vision for the north shore click here.
The new state land will provide public opportunities for both wildlife viewing and hunting year round except during a seasonal closure from March 1 to July 15 for migrating and nesting birds. Future plans include maintaining agricultural production along with gradual wetland and riparian restoration.
To read the rest of the Bigfork Eagle article, click the following link: http://www.flatheadnewsgroup.com/bigforkeagle/article_56dca82c-a563-11e3-ae4b-0019bb2963f4.html