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Land Protection Plan

Proposed Lost Trail Conservation Area

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

A scenic picture of tall green trees among mountains

Lost Trail Conservation Area. Photo: USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has prepared a draft Environmental Assessment and Land Protection Plan for a proposal to create the Lost Trail Conservation Area in Flathead and Lincoln Counties, Montana. If created, the Conservation Area would authorize the Service to work with willing sellers to acquire conservation easements on up to 100,000 acres within the 120,000 acre Conservation Area boundary.

The conservation easements would secure public access, prevent residential development, and allow for sustainable commercial timber harvests. The easements would be similar to other existing easements in the area and similar to the 7,274-acre easement within the project area proposed for acquisition by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.


The Service would use federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) dollars to purchase easements within the Conservation Area. LWCF dollars are derived from federal offshore oil and gas leasing and are not taxpayer dollars. No fee-title acquisition by the Service would be authorized.

Project Objectives

The primary objectives of this land project include:

  • Preserving important wildlife habitat and migration corridors;
  • Providing public recreation access; and
  • Allowing the property to be sustainably managed for timber production.

Recent Updates

September 16, 2002 Press Release: Conservation Area Proposed in Northwest Montana Would Support American Grizzly Bear Populations, Canada Lynx, Elk, and Much More

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:

LTRCA_comments@fws.gov

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
Vanessa Fields
922 Bootlegger Trail
Great Falls, MT 59404
Vanessa_Fields@fws.gov
(406) 217-6473

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

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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: September 16, 2020
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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