Easement to protect bears

BONNERS FERRY — A 647-acre conservation easement will protect important north Idaho grizzly bear habitat as well as working forests and rural jobs, The Nature Conservancy and Forest Capital Partners announced Friday.

The conservation easement will protect lands owned by Forest Capital Partners in the Boundary Creek area, located 15 miles north of Bonners Ferry near the Canada border. The forest will continue to be owned and managed by the private forest management company.  

The property is frequently used by grizzly bears and other wildlife including moose, elk and deer. It also contributes to an important wildlife corridor between the Selkirk and Purcell mountains.

“This easement is important to conserving north Idaho’s grizzly bears, while also maintaining the rural economy through active forest management,” said Robyn Miller, the Conservancy’s Inland Northwest conservation manager.

“Forest Capital Partners deserves a huge thanks for their commitment to both people and wildlife.”

As part of the easement, the company will not harvest timber during months when grizzlies use the area. The easement also will create and maintain forest buffers along streams and roads to improve fish and wildlife habitat.

“This project is a great example of how private landowners, conservation organizations, and public agencies can partner together to promote conservation,” said Kennon McClintock, region manager for Forest Capital Partners’ Idaho region.

“We are proud to provide a portion of our working forests to assist in this invaluable conservation effort.”

Because the property is adjacent to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Boundary Creek and Smith Creek wildlife management areas and national forest land, it expands the fish and wildlife benefits these lands already provide, and keeps these protected areas connected. 

Boundary Creek, a beautiful mountain stream containing healthy populations of redband and bull trout, runs through it.

A grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to support protection for ecologically important lands helped make this project possible.

The easement acquisition also was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Recovery Land Acquisition program to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

This is the first time this program has supported a grizzly bear habitat project.

The grant is the second Recovery Land Acquisition grant requested and received by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

“This has been a great partnership to keep working forests working,” said Miller.

“Private forests offer so many benefits to North Idaho, from protection of endangered species to jobs, from clean water to big game habitat. By working together with partners, local county officials and citizens, we can ensure that these values continue to be protected while maintaining the foundation of our economy.”

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