210929 PHOTO Elkhorn Land Acquisition USFS.JPG

A creek runs through formerly private property in the southern Elkhorn Mountains that was recently acquired by the U.S. Forest Service. 

The national forests that blanket the Elkhorn Mountains east of Boulder grew by 1,418 acres earlier this month, after a conservation effort by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Fish & Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation resulted in the purchase—and subsequent transfer to the U.S. Forest Service—of one of the largest private parcels within the forest. 

The organizations worked with the landowner to acquire the land, according to a release from the Forest Service, which then purchased the land from the conservation trust. 

"The land will provide year-round and winter habitat for elk, as well as habitat for deer, bears, wolves, moose, mountain lions, ferruginous hawks and a variety of grassland birds," Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Senior Lands Program Manager Mike Mueller said in the statement. 

The land is at about 7,000 feet elevation and is around the East Fork of Dry Creek, Sand Creek, Turman Creek and Dahlman Gulch—an area about 13 miles east of Boulder. The Forest Service said that the parcel, which is split between the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, "consists of rolling mountains and mountain foothill habitat with a combination of timbered areas and mountain sagebrush and grassland habitat."  

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