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Blackfoot Challenge Sponsors Meeting
to Discuss FWP Plan for Game Range

Seeley Swan Pathfinder
February 4, 1999

As thousands of elk and deer feed in the cold moonlight on the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area, an important public meeting about their future will be going on nearby at the Lubrecht Experimental Forest on Wednesday, February 10, at 7:00 p.m. Mike Thompson, wildlife biologist with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), will lead a discussion on a partnership program to permanently protect 7,800 acres of critical winter wildlife habitat inside the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area (BCWMA).

The Wednesday evening program will be hosted by the Blackfoot Challenge, a local group interested in coordinating efforts that will enhance, conserve and protect the natural resources and rural lifestyle of the Blackfoot Valley.

"The public has cared for, and enjoyed, the BCWMA for 50 years and now it's time to celebrate their success and invite them to get involved in ensuring the future of this area for wildlife," said Thompson. He will outline a plan that an ambitious group of partners has developed to acquire the private inholding of Plum Creek Timber Company within the BCWMA. According to Thompson, "These lands are critical to the public's wildlife so we are inviting the public to help."

Partners in the discussion and effort to permanently protect the BCWMA include Plum Creek Timber, Montana Department of Natural Resources, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Five Valley Land Trust, BLM, and the U.S. Forest Service. Denny Sigars, Plum Creek's Clearwater Unit Manager, said, "Plum Creek has a history of cooperative management in the Blackfoot-Clearwater area. We are pleased to be working cooperatively with all of the partners toward long-term conservation of the area."

The meeting will be in the Castle's Forestry Center at the Lubrecht Experimental Forest. Lubrecht is at mile marker 22.5 on Highway 200, approximately 30 miles east of Missoula, or nine miles west of Clearwater Junction. The public is encouraged to attend and participate.

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