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The Conservation Fund and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) through federal funding have acquired 560 acres to the Meeteetse Spires Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
“We applaud the Bureau of Land Management and our congressional delegation for getting this project to the finish line,” said Gates Watson, director of The Conservation Fund’s Montana office. “This property has great conservation, recreational and scenic values, and its preservation will benefit current and future generations of Montanans.”
Located about six miles south of Red Lodge in Carbon County, the property contains unique rock formations that jut out from the eastern slopes of the Beartooth Mountains, drawing visitors and nature photographers from across the state and country. Preserving this land gives the public expanded recreational access for hiking, hunting, camping, skiing and more, as it will connect to surrounding BLM lands and the adjoining Custer National Forest, according to Watson.
The Conservation Fund purchased the entire property in June 2009 with the intent that the federal BLM would purchase it in phases, as it obtained funding. Senator Max Baucus, Senator Jon Tester and Congressman Denny Rehberg championed this project in Congress and secured all of the funding for BLM’s purchase, through two annual appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Land and Water Conservation Fund receives revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling. Congress makes annual appropriations for projects that meet the criteria and have public support. With the first round of funding, BLM purchased 300 acres from The Conservation Fund in November 2009. The second round of funding allowed BLM to purchase the remaining 260 acres last month.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103