Non-Profit Feature

Go Local donates 3% of each issue’s advertising revenue to a local nonprofit organization. This issue supports the flathead lakers’ bad rock canyon conservation project.


THE FLATHEAD LAKERS’ BAD ROCK CANYON CONSERVATION PROJECT

“[Bad Rock Canyon] is a vital connector between the Whitefish and Swan Mountain ranges for native carnivores, such as bear, mountain lions, and wolverines. It also provides winter habitat for an elk herd and moose and is a guaranteed landing place for migratory birds.”

 

The Flathead Lakers organization was founded in 1958 by a small group of concerned lakeshore owners who wanted to safeguard Flathead Lake. Over the years, their scope has expanded from the lake to the entire Flathead watershed, and they’ve fought on the winning side of some major water quality battles: improving local sewage treatment plants, banning phosphates from detergents, and banning coal and coalbed methane mining in British Columbia. They were one of the early voices raising awareness about invasive mussels and calling for action to prevent infestation of our Montana lakes and rivers.

One of their current projects is the Flathead River to Lake Initiative, which brings groups together to provide incentives for landowners to protect wetlands, riparian forests, floodplains, and important farm soils. This program has protected over 6,000 acres along the Flathead River and the north shore of Flathead Lake.

The current focus of the initiative is the Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Project, 772 acres of critical wildlife habitat along the Flathead River near Columbia Falls. This land, a jewel in the Crown of the Continent, is a vital connector between the Whitefish and Swan mountain ranges for native carnivores, such as bear, mountain lions, and wolverines. It also provides winter habitat for an elk herd and moose and is a guaranteed landing place for migratory birds, who find reliable open water thanks to a warm spring that runs through the land, even when surrounding lakes and creeks are frozen. With its location right next to the growing town of Columbia Falls, this land could be a prime opportunity for housing development. It has long been owned by the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company, which has agreed to sell it to the state of Montana if the funds can be raised by the end of 2021.

“Now is the time to contribute to this rare and wonderful opportunity to secure a beautiful, irreplaceable piece of wilderness for the health of our ecosystem and the enjoyment of future generations of Montanans.“

 

The Flathead Lakers are working with the Flathead Land Trust and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to raise the money to secure this land, with much of the $7.1 million price tag coming from state and federal grants, as well as matching challenge grants from foundations and private donors. With less than $100,000 left to raise, they emphasize that every dollar makes a difference: now is the time to contribute to this rare and wonderful opportunity to secure a beautiful, irreplaceable piece of wilderness for the health of our ecosystem and the enjoyment of future generations of Montanans.

The Bad Rock Canyon area: 772 acres neighboring Columbia Falls

 

How can folks donate to/get involved with your organization?

To donate to the Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Project or learn more about the important work the Flathead Lakers are doing in the valley, please visit their website at www.flatheadlakers.org.

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