Today, November 14, the state of Montana officially purchased 40 acres of land in the Big Snowy Mountains about 20 miles south of Lewistown.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks purchased the land from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which had purchased the land in September, after a hunter told them the land was going on the market.

"Most of the Big Snowys in this particular location are surrounded by large ranches and this hunter, one of our members, found out that this little sliver of land that butts up to the Lewis and Clark National Forest was going on the block," said RMEF spokesman Mark Holyoak. "He let us know about it and due to the recent establishment of an endowment, we were able to step in and purchase it in a ridiculously quick fashion and get that transferred eventually to Fish, Wildlife and Parks. It's really neat, 40 acres opens the door to 18,000 acres of public access."

The 40 acre cut of land is located in the midst of a bunch of private property and could prove to be the only access available to the public. Though the original purchase price by RMEF was $190,000, Montana bought the land for only $50,000.

Governor Steve Bullock championed the purchase saying,  “This decision protects access to the Big Snowies, and should serve as a model for further efforts to protect access to public lands. When we work together, we can protect public access for the next generation of Montanans, while respecting the rights of private property owners.”