The Blackfoot Corridor will be widening even more for outdoor recreation lovers in western Montana.

According to a press release published in the Seeley Lake Pathfinder, the Bureau of Land Management announced that there will now be more access to high-quality hunting and hiking opportunities, with the BLM's new acquisition of 6,578 acres along the Blackfoot River. If this sounds familiar, maybe it's because it's an add-on to an acquisition plan that began earlier this year.

The BLM says this is the second and final phase in the Ninemile-Woodchuck parcel acquisition. The BLM Missoula Field Office has now added a total of 37,000 acres of former private timber land in the Blackfoot Watershed. This was made possible by  $9,863,000 of funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

In addition to the expanded hunting and hiking opportunities, the Woodchuck acquisition will offer some limited summer and winter motorized use, under the guidance of the  Blackfoot Special Recreation Management Area. In addition to public access for recreation, the BLM press announcement states, "the goal of the acquisition is to maintain working lands, including active forest restoration and fuels projects that would improve forest health and watershed function."

There a couple of ways to access this new acquisition. The public can access the area via Johnsrud Road on the Lower Blackfoot Corridor and the Ninemile Prairie Road east of Potomac. Here's hoping it accomplishes BLM's goal of "conserving its natural values and ensuring people will always be able to enjoy it for recreation and the joys that come with time spent in nature."

If you do have any questions or comments, there is a local contact in the Missoula BLM Field Office, Erin Carey. Erin can be contacted at 406-329-3914, or via email,

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