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GREAT FALLS — Almost 30,000 acres in the Helena National Forest have been dropped from a proposal that conservationists hope will better protect 300,000 acres in the Rocky Mountains.

The move aims to satisfy Lincoln residents who say they didn't know land in the Lincoln Ranger District was part of the conservation plan. The Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front announced the original proposal in 2009, and the revision was made last week.

The plan to protect 275,300 acres in Lewis and Clark National Forest remains in place. Removed were 14,212 acres in the Red Mountain Research Natural Area and 14,725 acres near Silver King Mountain.

The plan is meant to protect the land by designating it as either wilderness or for conservation management.

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