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New Flathead River Conservation Project near Columbia Falls

You can help conserve this Gem.

Help us conserve this exceptional wetlands and cottonwood forest vital for grizzly bears, elk, birds, fish, clean water, and other wildlife. Check this beautiful video showcasing the Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Project near Columbia Falls.

R2L partners have secured $5.3 million so far from grants, but we have $500,000 left to raise!  You can help conserve this gem by making a donation to our collaborative R2L Conservation Fund. Thank you!

The Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Project is critical for connecting core habitat along the Flathead River and between mountain ranges.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is proposing to purchase 800 acres of critical lands along 1.6 miles of the Flathead River east of Columbia Falls and downstream of Bad Rock Canyon to create a new public Wildlife Management Area.

The project is located on a narrow passage connecting core grizzly bear habitat between the Whitefish and Swan mountains ranges, including 700 acres of healthy riparian forest, 80 acres of wetlands, a mile of a warm spring creek.

The Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Project is part of a network of critical lands in the Flathead Valley that is important for sustaining our excellent water quality, abundant fish and wildlife, recreational opportunities, and the quality of life we enjoy.

 

Flathead River to Lake Initiative partners work with interested landowners. 

The land is owned by the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company (CFAC) which entered into an agreement giving Flathead Land Trust and MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks a window of time to obtain the funding to purchase the property and create a new public Wildlife Management Area. The land does not include the former aluminum plant site.

MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Flathead Land Trust partners have secured $5.3 million toward the purchase so far. We must raise $500,000 in non-Federal match to bring this important conservation project to fruition and get this vital 800 acres in MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks ownership by Dec. 2021. 

The project protects core wildlife habitat and landscape connectivity

Native fish and wildlife: The land provides vital landscape connectivity and travel corridors for bull trout grizzly bears, and  winter range for elk and white-tailed deer.  The project would also conserve key habitat for 192 species of birds for breeding, wintering, and as a vital stopover to refuel on their migration including 59 species identified as conservation priorities. A warm spring flowing through the property stays open year-round providing important open water for waterfowl early in the spring.

Water quality: The 700 acres of riparian forests, including 120 acres cottonwood galley forests, 80 acres of wetlands, and shallow groundwater bordering the river help safeguard the healthy function and excellent water quality of the Flathead River and Flathead Lake.

The project will safeguard open space and recreational opportunities

“This project creates a unique opportunity to protect wildlife habitat and public access on the doorstep of the Gateway to Glacier and along the Flathead River,” said MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks Regional Supervisor Jim Williams.

The Bad Rock Canyon Project will create new public access and recreational opportunities near Columbia Falls. The land would be managed by MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks for with wildlife, but also providing public access and recreational opportunities, such as a trail for hikers, bikers, and birdwatchers, and continuation of the youth and disabled hunting opportunities for deer and elk.

View or download a Flyer. Share with others! Ask friends and family to donate to the Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Project for your birthday or other special occasion!

For questions about the Bad Rock Canyon Project contact the Flathead Land Trust at 406-752-8293.

For questions about making a donation to the R2L Conservation Fund to fund this project contact Flathead Lakers at 883-1341.

More stories:  

Bad Rock Canyon wetlandsPlan OK’d to buy aluminum company land, Daily Inter Lake, Aug 20, 2020

Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Project Gains Initial Approval, Flathead Beacon, Aug 14, 2020

Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Project, Flathead Land Trust, Aug 14, 2020

Commissioners endorse Bad Rock Wildlife Management Area, Hungry Horse News, Aug 20, 2020 

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