Posted: Dec 7, 2012 5:50 PM by Marnee Banks (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Updated: Dec 7, 2012 5:53 PM
Landowners and sportsmen are upset about a multi-million dollar land deal the State of Montana is considering.
On Monday, Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) Commission will vote on whether or not to acquire nearly 3,000 acres of land located along the Canadian border.
It's part of a 4,500 acre ranch along the Milk River northwest of Havre.
The Department of Natural Resources is proposing to purchase the other 1,500 acres. The purchase price is $4.7 million.
FWP Spokesperson Ron Aasheim says, "We've looked at it and it provides excellent wildlife habitat. It's a corridor for animals moving into Montana from the north, native undisturbed grass lands and about ten miles of the Milk River."
Several landowner groups including Citizens for Balanced Use (CBU) are opposed to the purchase of the land deal because they say the state keeps buying up land and doesn't have the resources to manage it.
CBU Attorney Cory Swanson says they are asking the state to extend public comment and postpone a decision.
"Bottom line is that we think the state is paying way too much money for property that doesn't meet the hunting, fishing, recreation value criteria that they should be looking at," Swanson says.
He claims there were flaws in the appraisal process.
He says the high price tag will drive up the price of neighboring land so local farmers won't be able to afford to expand their current operations.