MISSOULA, Mont.—A 320-acre property in southwestern Montana, vital to wildlife and linked to the pages of U.S. history, is now permanently protected thanks to a successful collaboration between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a conservation-minded family and the U.S. Forest Service.
The former Holland Family Ranch is located west of Dillon and was previously an inholding in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. It lies squarely on the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, where Chief Joseph led his Nez Perce tribe away from its pursuers in 1877.
“We appreciate the Holland family for reaching out to us to help conserve and permanently protect this key stretch of habitat,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Land Conservation. “It is especially rich in wildlife values.”
Elk use the property as calving grounds as well as spring and summer range. It serves as an important wildlife movement corridor between the Big Hole River Valley and the Continental Divide for elk, mule deer, moose and black bear. It is also home to Canada lynx, wolverine, a wide variety of other animal and bird life, and includes more than two miles of fisheries, wetlands and surrounding riparian habitat.
RMEF recently conveyed the tract to the Forest Service thus providing both new and improved public access for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.
“This purchase is a perfect example of how partnerships can conserve wildlife, ecological, recreational and historic values,” said Melany Glossa, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest supervisor. “Working together with RMEF and the Holland family to be a part of this legacy has been a really wonderful experience.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, Cinnabar Foundation, Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust and RMEF provided funding for the project.