by Suzanne Vernon
For the Pathfinder
April 29, 1999
A parcel of undeveloped private land at Lindbergh Lake totalling seven hundred and forty acres has made it to President's Clinton's budget list, according to Dave Genter, spokesman for the Trust for Public Lands, Bozeman.
The parcel is now one step closer to public ownership.
The acreage represents the remaining parcel of Plum Creek land that was part of a multi-million dollar project to purchase more than 3,000 acres of Plum Creek land at Lindbergh Lake and transfer ownership of that land to the Flathead National Forest. This remaining acreage is now the number one priority in the nation for Forest Service lands acquisition, Genter said.
Trust for Public Lands (TPL) is a non-profit conservation group that negotiates with private landowners, Congress and federal agencies to transfer, exchange, buy and sell land for conservation purposes.
Since 1997, TPL has been working with Plum Creek, local residents, the Forest Service and Congress on the $12-$15 million Lindbergh Lake proposal. Phase One and Phase Two of the project were completed in 1998 and 1999, when Congress approved spending more than $10 million in Land & Water Conservation Funds to purchase Plum Creek's lakefront and riparian lands at Lindbergh Lake.
TPL is still seeking approximately $2.79 million to fund the purchase of the remaining parcel, Genter said. Funding for conservation projects comes from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which Genter explained traditionally is used to protect or acquire "national treasures." The Land and Water Conservation Fund generates about $900 million a year from federal off-shore oil and gas leases.
Genter praised the Montana Congressional delegation for their support of the Lindbergh Lake project, along with hundreds of local residents who have conducted a massive letter-writing campaign in support of the Lindbergh Lake lands acquisition.
Genter explained that TPL is also going forward with plans to ask Congress to fund the purchase of other Plum Creek lands in the Swan Valley so that they may also be transferred into public ownership. These parcels, identified at the recent meeting in Condon, include 160 acres at Van Lake; nearly 640 acres straddling the Swan River at Piper Creek; and 480 acres along Holland Creek south of the Holland Lake Road.