Helenair.com: Tenderfoot Legacy land acquisition celebrated

Speakers at the Capitol on Friday celebrated the newest addition to the Lewis and Clark National Forest by rallying behind the uncertain future of the fund that made the acquisition a reality.

Gov. Steve Bullock, Sen. Steve Daines, Sen. Jon Tester and USDA Undersecretary Robert Bonnie were among those who supported reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund at a celebration for completion of the Tenderfoot Legacy Project. The project was an eight-year, $10.7 million effort between the Bair Ranch Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Tenderfoot Trust and the U.S. Forest Service to place more than 8,200 acres of private ranchland in Meagher County into public ownership.

Funding came from a combination of $10.1 million LWCF and $500,000 of nonfederal funds from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust. LWCF, which uses royalties from offshore oil and gas for conservation, is set to sunset at the end of September unless reauthorized by Congress and signed by the president.