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Land Protection Plan

Lost Trail Conservation Area

Conservation Easements | Public Involvement | Contacts | Documents | Open / close all

Aerial view of the Lost Trail Conservation Area.

Lost Trail Conservation Area. Photo: Chris Boyer/Kestral Aerial Services Click to view full screen

The Lost Trail Conservation Area is located in Northwest Montana between Kalispell and Libby. The conservation area is part of a landscape conservation strategy to protect critical migration corridors while allowing for continued sustainable timber harvest and public access

  • Authorized in 2021. 
  • Comprised of 120,000-acre area, within which the Service can acquire conservation easements on up to 100,000 acres of private land. 
  • Centered 28 miles west of Kalispell, Montana in Flathead and Lincoln counties. 

The Lost Trail Conservation Area, in combination with existing protected lands and other on-going efforts by our partners, will stitch together 20 years of conservation work in Northwest Montana that protects over 300,000 acres of important working timberland from Glacier National Park to the Idaho panhandle. Large blocks of protected areas are important regional anchors to build upon and develop a connected and ecologically functional landscape. " 


Recent Updates

March 23, 2021 Press Release: Northwest Montana Conservation Area to Preserve Public Access, Protect Wildlife Habitat and Provide Sustainable Timber Harvest

In-Progress Plan Status

Summer 2020

Conduct scoping/Prepare draft environmental assessment (EA) and land protection plan

Fall 2020

Release draft EA and land protection plan for public review

Winter 2020

Complete environmental review and final plan

Conservation Easements »

As a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and the Service, a conservation easement is a perpetual agreement that we would buy from a willing landowner. Easement prices offered to willing sellers would be determined by an appraisal completed by a Service-contracted appraiser familiar with the local market.

The conservation easements would secure public access, prevent residential development, and allow for sustainable commercial timber harvests. Easement land would stay in private ownership. Property taxes and invasive plant control would be the responsibility of landowners. Contracts would not restrict grazing on easement lands.

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Public Involvement »

The 30-day comment period will begin on September 16, 2020. Please submit either e-mailed or written comments by October 15, 2020 to:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Attn: Vanessa Fields
922 Bootlegger Trail
Great Falls, MT 59404

After the public comment period closes, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service will thoroughly review and consider all of the questions and comments we have received. The final proposed action may be revised based on this input. The Final Environmental Assessment and Land Protection Plan will be made available to the public when it is completed.

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Contacts »

Planning Team Leader
Ben Gilles, Project Leader
922 Bootlegger Trail
Great Falls, MT 59404
(406) 217-2287

Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge
Kevin Shinn, Refuge Manager
6295 Pleasant Valley Rd
Marion, Montana 59925
Phone (406) 260-5192

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Documents »


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: March 25, 2021
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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