Over the course of eight years and nine land deals the Lewis and Clark National Forest has finally concluded the acquisition of 8,221 acres of private inholdings.
The deal came at the behest of the Bair Ranch Foundation, which offered to sell the checkerboard acreage in Meagher County's Tenderfoot Creek drainage in 2007, as long as it was incorporated into the surrounding national forest.
The project’s partners raised approximately $500,000 of the roughly $10.6 million needed to complete the acquisition. The balance of the funding was provided through Land and Water Conservation Act funding.
“This acquisition took five years longer than we anticipated due to limited Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars, said Butch Marita, chairman of the Tenderfoot Trust, in a press release. "The Bair Ranch Foundation stuck with us in spite of these delays and additionally they contributed 5 percent of the sale price to a fund that has been set up to support the future management of the area. All of us who care about wildlife and wild places owe them a depth of gratitude.”
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Tenderfoot Trust were the principal conservation partners, working on the project with more than 30 sporting groups aiding the effort.