Thanks to a mix of federal, state, and donated funds, a small but unique swath of land on Montana’s famed Rock Creek is now public.
A story from The Missoulian says although the newly public land is far upstream of the water most anglers are familiar with, the 800 acres border the Sapphire Mountains and includes an old homestead, public trails, and nearly a mile of crucial bull trout and westslope cutthroat habitat.
The resources to finance the purchase came from a combination of monies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fund, and a donation from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The $460,000 purchase of the first 440 acres occurred last December, and the acquisition of another 360 acres for $716,000 was finalized on April 5th, 2016.
“The landowners were willing to sell the entire property in order for the Forest Service to be able to extend public access across the land,” said Pinter District Ranger Charlene Bucha. “This access connects to an extensive system of trails within the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area and secures backcountry recreation for horseback riding, hiking, fishing, camping, and hunting.”