A wildlife management area south of Lincoln will double in size in the resolution of a land transfer between the Nature Conservancy and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

FWP paid $562,500 for the Clear Creek Conservation Project, which adds 760 acres to the existing Nevada Creek Wildlife Management Area. The purchase used a grant from the U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program along with a 25 percent price donation from TNC.

“Leaving this land in open space will allow wildlife to continue natural movements and migrations between summer and winter ranges, and from mountain range to mountain range, without coming into conflict with human developments,” FWP Region 2 wildlife manager Mike Thompson wrote in an email.

The land includes extensive winter range for elk and deer as well as a travel corridor for grizzly bears moving between the Rocky Mountain Front and the Garnet Mountain Range. It lies next to the 4,900-acre Dalton Mountain conservation easement and several big patches of national forest land. The deal includes a new public access point into the Helena National Forest.

TNC spokeswoman Bebe Crouse said the transfer grew out of the Blackfoot Community Project, in which TNC acquired about 89,000 acres of Plum Creek Timber Co. property in partnership with the Blackfoot Challenge. So far, about 57,000 acres of that project has been passed into public ownership.

The FWP Board of Commissioners approved the project in January, with final paperwork getting completed in March.

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Natural Resources & Environment Reporter

Natural Resources Reporter for The Missoulian.