Groups challenge aerial wolf study
WILDLIFE – Six environmental groups have joined a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service to stop scientists from landing helicopters in a roadless area to collar wolves.
The groups are asking a judge to end the special permit Idaho Fish and Game researchers acquired to aerially dart and collar wolves otherwise inaccessible for study in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
The groups, including the Western Watersheds Project, The Wilderness Society, Great Old Broads for Wilderness and Idaho Conservation League, say the flights violate the 1964 Wilderness Act.
Staff and wire reports
Miners find gold near Glacier Park
NATIONAL PARKS –A Canadian mining company, digging for gold just north of Glacier National Park, has discovered a significant deposit, and that has Montana interests worried about upstream development.
Max Resource Corp. spent much of last summer drilling sample holes about 10 miles north of the Montana border, on a ridge clearly visible from Glacier Park.
Montana interests have long opposed industrial development in park headwaters.
Big park pending along Fish Creek
PUBLIC LANDS – A massive land deal south of Alberton could produce Montana’s second-largest state park.
The paperwork could close as early as March in the $14 million transaction between Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and The Nature Conservancy for most of the Fish Creek drainage. The property comprises about 41,000 acres stretching from Alberton Gorge south to Lolo Hot Springs.
FWP plans to spend $2.5 to $3 million in state park funds and another $11 million in federal wildlife conservation funds to buy the land from TNC, which bought it from Plum Creek Timber Co. last year.
Although heavily logged, the drainage forms an animal travel corridor between the Mission Mountains and Bob Marshall wilderness areas to the east and the proposed Great Burn Wilderness to the west. It harbors some of Montana’s rarest carnivores, including wolverine, fisher and marten.
Bull and westslope cutthroat trout spawn in the creek, which has two public fishing access sites. The area has at least seven regular elk winter ranges.