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BLM Toston Dam Map

The Bureau of Land Management could take ownership of about 260 acres in Broadwater County under a new proposal.

The agency is taking public comment on the proposal to receive the acreage near Toston Dam at no charge through the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust. If accepted, three new parcels of federal ownership would include a connected 1,250-acre block touted as benefiting wildlife and offering public access.

“The primary purpose is wildlife habitat and recreational hunting,” said Scott Haight, BLM field manager. “A lot of people also walk across the dam to fish, and that would also have public ownership.”

Haight says the agency was approached a couple of years ago by the trust about a land donation, which is somewhat unusual but not unheard of. The owners indicated an interest in seeing it go into conservation ownership, and BLM feels it would make a good addition, he said.

Deb Lane with the trust said the owners, Great Northern Properties, had listed the property for sale and the trust is working as an intermediary to purchase the property and donate it to BLM. The company has been patient as it agreed to explore public ownership, she said.

The parcels were on the market and could have been developed, Lane added.

Bill Orsello, member of the trust’s citizen advisory board, said a county road runs along the property as well. The purchase price comes to $2,000-$2,200 an acre.

More information on the proposal is available at https://go.usa.gov/xPvQB or by calling the BLM Butte Field Office at 406-533-7600.

To comment on the proposed acquisition, email the Butte Field Office at blm_mt_butte_fo@blm.gov.

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Reporter Tom Kuglin can be reached at 447-4076 @IR_TomKuglin

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