Montana’s scenic Swan Valley is home to a variety of wildlife habitat and it is place folks love to visit. On Tuesday, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced that wildlife in that area is now permanently protected. RMEF Director of Communications Mark Holyoak explains.

“We worked together with a land owner and were able to purchase, and convey, 638 acres to the U.S. National Forest,” Holyoak said. “It is now under the umbrella of the Lolo National Forest, which means this particular chunk of land is open and available for anyone who would like to go do whatever they want to do there. It is a great project.”

In this particular case, the private land owner didn’t want to sell the land and allow housing development. According to Holyoak, this piece of land lies right between the Mission Mountain Wilderness and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

“It is important that wildlife continues to have that area so they are able to go back and forth, or just hang out there,” Holyoak said. “It is good elk habitat, but it is also an important migration corridor for grizzly bears, Canada lynx, and other animals as well. It is really important to be able to permanently protect pieces of land like this and to keep them the way that they are so they can continue to remain wild.”

The property is approximately 65 miles northeast of Missoula and features aspen groves, grassy meadows, streams and riparian areas.