by Suzanne Vernon
For the Pathfinder
February 19, 1998
The Trust for Public Lands recently announced that the Clinton administration has pledged $2 million toward the purchase of 2,500 acres of forested land surrounding Lindbergh Lake in the Swan Valley.
The Trust for Public Lands currently holds an option to buy the 2,500 acres of lakefront property valued at between $12 and $15 million from Plum Creek Timber Co. If the project is approved over the next three years, federal Land and Water Conservation funds will be used to buy the land, which will then be transferred from Plum Creek to Forest Service ownership.
The Trust has requested up to $6 million a year in each of the next three years in order to buy the land from Plum Creek. Trust for Public Lands director, Maddy Pope, said recently that the promise of $2 million from the White House is a good sign.
"The fact that Lindbergh Lake competed successfully on the national level is terrific," she said.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which this year will allocate some $699 million to conservation projects, was flooded by proposals, Pope explained. Montana projects which requested funding included the Crown Butte buyout ($65 million) and CUT Ranch projects near Yellowstone Park. The CUT Ranch land acquisition project alone received $13 million.
Projects requesting money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund are now being reviewed by members of the House and Senate Interior subcommittees in Washington. "The process isn't over yet," Pope said, adding that Trust for Public Lands is still requesting a full $6 million in funding this year for Lindbergh Lake. Pope commended local residents who have forwarded comments to Washington. "This project has a lot of support," she said.
Plum Creek land managers, since identifying the Lindbergh Lake lands as property that could be sold, have worked in cooperation with several conservation groups who would like to see the land purchased by the Forest Service. Pope indicated that it is important for the Trust to secure about a third of the land each year, in order to meet the goals of an agreement signed
last fall by Plum Creek and the Trust for Public Lands.