More public access is being permanently protected with the purchase of 4,600 acres in the Ninemile/Woodchuck area by the Bureau of Land Management.
This first purchase of the Ninemile portion of the land is part of a larger 11,000-acre project in the lower Blackfoot. The land is near Ninemile Prairie, approximately 30 miles east of Missoula. The BLM plans to purchase the adjacent Woodchuck parcel later this year.
The BLM used $6.8 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase the Ninemile parcel from The Nature Conservancy in a years-long cooperative effort to secure public access on former industrial timberland. Since 1998 the BLM has acquired approximately 32,000 acres of former private timberland in the Blackfoot River watershed from The Nature Conservancy.