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Conservation easement sought near Libby

Conservation easement sought near Libby | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The Stimson Lumber Company owns forestland across the Pacific Northwest, but it sees challenges in Northwest Montana’s growing population.

Barry Dexter, the firm’s director of resources, says that developing areas’ lands “come out of timber production and go into mini-ranches or home sites for folks, and so that’s a little challenging for a fire management perspective, and it reduces the amount of land for the timber base.”

About 22,275 acres of the company’s land near Libby could avoid that outcome. If Stimson, conservation groups, state officials and Montana’s congressional delegation have their way, a conservation easement will allow forestry there to continue while preventing development.
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Under a conservation easement, a landowner agrees to place certain restrictions on use of the land. Those restrictions are bought and held by a land trust or government agency, and stay on the land even if it’s sold.
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“It’s forested land and would be maintained as a working forest with conservation values,” explained Ken McDonald, wildlife division administrator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The proposed easement, he stressed, “doesn’t take it out of the management scheme.” Stimson will retain the right to harvest timber on the land. But the easement “helps ensure [that] the management and the long-term use of that land is compatible with wildlife.”

Montana chose the property as its sole entry in what’s described as a highly competitive grant process. If it advances, an appraisal will determine its value. For now, the state’s requesting $6 million for the easement. It awaits assessment by a national review panel, which will rank the submitted proposals in mid-January.

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Montana Quarterly Log Prices

Montana Quarterly Log Prices | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Under the sponsorship of the Inland Northwest Forest Products Research Consortium, the Bureau maintains a system to provide current mill-delivered prices for logs in Montana. These prices are based on quarterly surveys of Montana timber-processing plants. Sawlog prices are reported quarterly by product type and species. Past specialty log price reports are also available.

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Conservation group buys 165,000 acres of Plum Creek timberlands in effort to keep land wild

Conservation group buys 165,000 acres of Plum Creek timberlands in effort to keep land wild | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A decades-old effort to protect traditional wildlife corridors and public access to western forests is getting a huge boost in Washington and Montana by an international conservation group.

The Nature Conservancy is buying 48,000 acres of forest land from Plum Creek Timber on the east slope of Washington’s Cascade Mountains for long-term conservation along with 117,000 acres in the Blackfoot River Valley of Western Montana.

Announced last week, the $49 million purchase in Washington includes all of the timber company’s holdings from Snoqualmie Pass to Cle Elum – about 75 square miles scattered among state and national forest lands – along both sides of the Interstate 90 corridor.

As part of the same deal, the conservation nonprofit will pay $85 million for the private timberland in Montana.

Sam Radcliffe's insight:

The 48,000 acre addition is the news -- we scooped the 117,000 acre deal last week. The total package works out to $812 per acre, $726 per acre in Montana and $1,020 per acre in Washington.

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Plum Creek to salvage 7,000 acres burned by Lolo Complex fire

Plum Creek to salvage 7,000 acres burned by Lolo Complex fire | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Most of the forest burned in the Lolo Creek Complex fire belonged to Plum Creek Timber Co., which hopes to recover what it can of the blackened trees this fall.


“Of the almost 11,000 acres involved, we have just over 7,000 acres within the boundary of that fire,” Plum Creek Northwest regional vice president Tom Ray said. “We will be down there next week to take a look and see what’s salvageable. The company had periodically been harvesting on those lands over the past decade, and we had future harvest planned there. That’s going to change.”

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“We’ll also look at what we can do for reforestation,” Ray said. “In some places, we may have natural reseeding coming back. Other places, we’ll look at what we can we do to restore those lands. Aerial reseeding is still a viable option in large fire areas. We have a seed bank of excess seed on hand, if we have large events we need to reforest.”

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Proposal to conserve 13,398 acres of timber company land under public review

Proposal to conserve 13,398 acres of timber company land under public review | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Nearly 22 square miles of important fish and wildlife habitat nine miles northwest of Whitefish could soon find its way into public hands.

 

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and The Trust for Public Land is working to conserve 13,398 acres of property, currently owned by Weyerhaeuser, through a complicated land deal that involves funding from a variety of sources.
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The lands are part of the properties purchased by Weyerhaeuser in 2016 from Plum Creek Timber.

The company indicated it planned to sell the property and gave the Trust for Public Lands the first option to buy the lands.
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The proposal calls for The Trust for Public Lands to acquire the entire project area from Weyerhaeuser by the end of September.

 

FWP proposes to purchase a conservation easement on 16 sections, or 10,218 acres. Once the Lazy Creek Conservation Easement is in place, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation would purchase the underlying fee ownership from the Trust.

 

The funding would come from a variety of federal and state sources, including the U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grant, hunter license dollars through FWP’s Habitat Montana Program and private funds from The Trust for Public Lands.
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The Bonneville Power Administration will pay $11.5 million for the five other sections of land, or about 3,180 acres, in the Swift Creek drainage. BPA would retain a conservation easement on the land to conserve important native fish habitat.

 

The BPA’s portion of the proposed project will serve as partial mitigation for fishery losses from the construction of Hungry Horse Dam.

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Conservation deal preserves Plum Creek land in Montana

Conservation deal preserves Plum Creek land in Montana | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

More than 15,000 acres of Plum Creek Timber Co. land northwest of Whitefish will be conserved through an agreement announced Monday by the company and The Trust for Public Land. The acreage is almost fully surrounded by the Stillwater State Forest except for a couple of parcels that border private land, said Tom Ray, vice president of Northwest resources and manufacturing for Plum Creek.


Under the agreement, The Trust for Public Land will have an option to purchase 1,920 acres and establish a conservation easement on the remaining 13,414 acres that Plum Creek will continue to own and manage as a working forest.
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All of the land in the agreement will be conserved, however, he added. Eventually the trust’s purchased property will be transferred into public ownership or to a conservation buyer. The agreement is subject to final conditions including appraisal and secured funding, Ray said.

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Plum Creek to sell 117,000 acres at Placid Lake, Gold Creek to Nature Conservancy

Plum Creek to sell 117,000 acres at Placid Lake, Gold Creek to Nature Conservancy | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Plum Creek Timber Co. has agreed to sell about 117,000 acres around Placid Lake and the Gold Creek drainage northeast of Missoula to the Nature Conservancy for $134 million.

“They are among the most ecologically diverse and intact biological systems remaining in the United States,” Plum Creek spokeswoman Kate Tate said in a written release on Monday afternoon. The deal also includes 48,000 acres on both sides of Interstate 90 between Snoqualmie Pass and Ellensburg in western Washington, in the heart of the Cascades Mountain Range.

The land will be transferred in two phases. The first should close by the fourth quarter of 2014, while the second will close in the first quarter of 2015.

The Nature Conservancy partnered with Plum Creek to transfer 310,000 acres to public and conservation ownership in the Montana Legacy Project which finished in 2010.

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$1,145 per acre

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Stimson sells 28K acres in Kootenai River valley into conservation easement

Stimson sells 28K acres in Kootenai River valley into conservation easement | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
A conservation project on 28,000 acres of prime wildlife habitat in northwest Montana’s lower Kootenai River valley offers permanent access and protection to tracts of land with high conservation values, while continuing to support recreation...
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