Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks continues to pursue land purchases and conservation easements funded through its Habitat Montana program to provide more public access for hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers.

In the August FWP Commission meeting, eight projects were unveiled that would provide public access to what is now private lands across the state.

"We were really excited about the projects and the diversity of habitat and the geographical representation across the state," said Ken McDonald, wildlife bureau chief.

He said a variety of other funds could be tapped to help seal the deals, such as duck stamp and forest legacy dollars.

The habitat acquisition projects being pursued include:

-- A conservation easement on the 800 acre Dugas Farms two miles south of Ulm in Cascade County.

-- The purchase of the 440-acre Full Curl ranch in northwestern Montana that provides important habitat for 250 bighorn sheep and includes more than a mile of Flathead River frontage.

-- A conservation easement for 28,000 acres of Stimson Lumber Co. land near Troy. The $16 million project would include federal grants and a commitment by Stimson to a below-market sale.

-- The donation of 70 acres of land from Ms. Christopher Young that adjoins the Calf Creek WMA northeast of Hamilton.

-- Purchase or trade of 2,917 acres of private in-holdings in the Spotted Dog WMA near Deer Lodge along the upper Clark Fork River.

-- The purchase of a conservation easement on 2,847 acres of the Browning Ranch along the Musselshell River, about 12 miles north of Mosby.

-- A conservation easement on 792 acres of Yellowstone River bottomland and 19,886 acres of upland rangeland owned by the Nix Ranch, southwest of Hysham.

-- The purchase of 1,093.4 acres of Yellowstone River bottomland adjacent to Seven Sisters WMA, about 10 miles southwest of Sidney.

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