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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Montana may expand protection for Fish Creek

Five hikers link hands to encircle an ancient cedar in a grove that survived the 1910 fires -- and many more through several centuries -- in the West Fork of Fish Creek. The drainage is in the heart of the proposed Great Burn Wilderness.  (Bob Clark)
Five hikers link hands to encircle an ancient cedar in a grove that survived the 1910 fires -- and many more through several centuries -- in the West Fork of Fish Creek. The drainage is in the heart of the proposed Great Burn Wilderness. (Bob Clark)

FISHING -- Although it flows into the Clark Fork River below Interstate 90, Fish Creek is a sleeper resource unknown to most anglers. Luckly, Montana conservationists and fisheries managers have taken note.  

Here's the latest effort to preserve the habitat and potential for a fishery that extends to headwaters in the proposed Great Burn Wilderness area of the Bitterroot Mountains near Alberton.

FWP Seeks Comment on Proposed Addition to Fish Creek WMA

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is seeking public review and comment on its proposal to acquire 158 acres adjacent to the 34,573 acre Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) west of Alberton.

The proposed addition includes one half mile of Fish Creek and would help protect important habitat for sensitive species such as bull trout, westslope cutthroat and Canada lynx, as well as elk and other wildlife species.

The lands under consideration are currently owned by Five Valleys Land Trust and would be purchased for $350,000, cost-shared by FWP’s Habitat Montana Fund, matching Pittman-Robertson funds from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Thompson Falls Mitigation Fund, and Westslope Trout Unlimited.

            FWP will hold a public hearing in Alberton on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Alberton Community Center (701 Railroad Ave) to discuss the proposal and take public comment.

            A draft environmental assessment on the proposal can be found online at fwp.mt.gov under “Public Notices.” Or, request it by mail from Region 2 FWP, 3201 Spurgin Rd., Missoula 59804; phone 406-542-5500; email shrose@mt.gov.

      Comments can be submitted online at fwp.mt.gov under “Public Notices,” or should be directed to Sharon Rose using the contact information above. Comments must be received by FWP no later than 5 p.m. on November 7, 2014.

      The Fish & Wildlife Commission will make a final decision on the acquisition at its December meeting in Helena, and the Montana Board of Land Commissioners must also review the proposal.



Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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