Federal grants were used to buy development rights last month for two North Idaho properties to preserve habitat for grizzly bears and other wildlife.
The Hubbard family sold the rights to future development on 748 acres along the Kootenai River north of Bonners Ferry for nearly $798,000. The conservation easement on the property was purchased February through the federal Forest Legacy Program, which is designed to protect ecologically sensitive private forest lands from conversion to other uses.
The Hubbards donated part of the land’s development value, which was assessed at more than $1 million, said Karen Sjoquist, Forest Legacy coordinator for the Idaho Department of Lands. The family can continue to log on the property, but the land can’t be subdivided or built up.
The deal supports local timber jobs while protecting wildlife, Sjoquist said. In addition to grizzly habitat, the parcel also supports other wildlife, such as elk, moose, deer, black bears and cougars.
Money from the Forest Legacy Program also bought development rights on 6,847 acres owned by Stimson Lumber in the McArthur Lake corridor between Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry in December. The federal government paid $4.1 million for the development rights, which were appraised at nearly $5.5 million.
Stimson will continue logging on the property, which also is open to the public for hunting, fishing and hiking.
The McArthur Lake corridor is an important migratory route in the Selkirk, Cabinet and Purcel mountains, providing passage for grizzly bears, elk and other wide-ranging animals, such as wolverines. The area provides breeding habitat for 13 duck species, and it’s a resting and feeding area for thousands of migratory waterfowl.
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