Wildlife Habitat & Working Forest Conserved Near Olney
In late December, Flathead Land Trust helped complete a significant conservation easement along the Stillwater River near Olney in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company.
The conservation easement permanently protects a 1,072 acre inholding surrounded by Flathead National Forest and Montana State forests, and will remain a privately held working forest protected from future development. The property is also part of the thousands of acres of working forests that sustain the regions iconic wildlife, water quality, and local economy. Located just 10 miles from Whitefish, which is a major hub in Western Montana for visitors and residents alike looking to enjoy the outdoors.
“This project is just one chapter in our long history of conserving working forests in Montana,” said Dick Dolan, Northern Rockies Regional Director for The Trust for Public Land, “We are proud to be able to preserve some of the region’s most special places for outdoor recreation, while also ensuring the health and continuity of sustainable forestry. This project would not have been possible without the support of our exceptional partners.”
“This incredible property is now conserved in perpetuity and protects important wildlife habitat and water quality along the Stillwater River, as well as open space and forest resources for sustainable management”, said Paul Travis, Executive Director of the Flathead Land Trust. “The conservation easement also secures access for the use and enjoyment of the public adjacent to other public lands. As the Flathead’s community-based land trust, we are proud to be a partner on this significant forestland conservation project with The Trust for Public Land and F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Co.”
The Trust for Public Land was responsible for securing and negotiating the terms of the conservation easement with Flathead Land Trust which will limit commercial, industrial, or residential development on the property while securing permanently public recreation access. Conservation Easements like this one protect wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities while also allowing for sustainable forestry, which is vital to the region’s economy.
F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company is grateful for the opportunity to continue the stewardship of this property under private ownership. “It is a unique property that fits well into our timberland holdings and will benefit from long term forest management under our principals of sustainability.” Said Chuck Roady, Vice President and General Manager of Stoltze. “Putting this property under conservation easement and long-term sustainable forest management is a great example of how healthy forests support healthy communities, both the two- and four-legged kind” said Paul McKenzie, Lands & Resource manager for Stoltze. This is the third project Stoltze has worked with The Trust For Public Land on and the first for working with Flathead Land Trust.
This property was generously donated to The Trust for Public Land in 2017 by Cindy and Alan Horn. The outcome accomplishes the layered benefits that the former owners had hoped to see. It is a true win-win scenario for all parties and the residents of Montana.