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Keep public lands public

Editor,

As a resident of the beautiful Swan Valley, I am deeply disturbed by the Lake County Conservation District’s proposal to transfer the management of 60,000 acres of the Flathead National Forest. The proposal calls for the establishment of a “Conservation Forest” to produce timber revenue for LCCD. This proposal is a direct attack on our public lands, and we cannot stand for it in our own backyard.

Despite many legal and logistical holes, the lands earmarked for the potential Conservation Forest are disjointed, and scattered throughout the valley. Many of these lands comprise grizzly and lynx habitat - species that need large ranges and would most certainly be impacted by extensive patchwork logging and road building projects. The presence of these species is also an indicator of a healthy, intact ecosystem. Habitat concerns aside, the bottom line is that this land is public land. It belongs to all Americans, and local government does not have the right to profit off of it. The Lake County Conservation District is accepting public comments about this proposal at swanstudy@ gmail.com or at 64352 Highway 93 Ronan, MT 59864. Please contact them to voice your opposition to the Swan Forest Initiative today.

Brent Morrow
Swan Valley

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