Habitat Project:

Alvord Lake Community Forest

A landmark collaborative effort to protect shoreline habitat and public access in far northwest Montana.

Alvord Lake was conserved for a local community and for its wildlife values.

Photo by Adrienne Ingram

Alvord Lake was conserved for a local community and for its wildlife values.
map of Alvord Lake
Common loons nest on Alvord Lake.
The Alvord Lake $1.15 million project was anchored by a $400,000 U.S. Forest Service Community Forest and Open Spaces Program grant.

Photo by Ryan Lutey

Alvord Lake and the surrounding forest serves as winter range for moose, deer and elk.

Photo by Ryan Lutey

Nesting loons call Alvord Lake home.

Photo by Ryan Lutey

The Friends of Alvord Lake and citizens of northwest Montana protected public access to the lake.

Photo by Kevin Rhoades

Alvord Lake - 142 acres of forested land in northwest Montana conserved forever.

Photo by Ryan Lutey

Alvord Lake - lilly pads

Photo by Ryan Lutey

Alvord Lake was conserved for a local community and for its wildlife values. Alvord Lake was conserved for a local community and for its wildlife values. map of Alvord Lake Common loons nest on Alvord Lake. The Alvord Lake $1.15 million project was anchored by a $400,000 U.S. Forest Service Community Forest and Open Spaces Program grant. Alvord Lake and the surrounding forest serves as winter range for moose, deer and elk. Nesting loons call Alvord Lake home. The Friends of Alvord Lake and citizens of northwest Montana protected public access to the lake. Alvord Lake - 142 acres of forested land in northwest Montana conserved forever. Alvord Lake - lilly pads

Alvord Lake Community Forest PROJECT BRIEF

A unique U.S. Forest Service fund; a state fish and wildlife trust; community conservation and educational groups; and, of course, generous individual donors. From the federal to the local, the effort to create Alvord Lake Community Forest out of a proposed lakeshore subdivision is the largest and most collaborative in Vital Ground’s history. And it’s a prime illustration of how our work to protect grizzly habitat carries benefits far beyond a single species.

“This project is a great example of how on-the-ground collaboration increases public access to Montana’s treasured places,” said U.S. Senator Jon Tester, who helped secure funding for Alvord Lake.

It’s true: Alvord Lake is a public attraction. Two miles north of Troy, MT, the sickle-shaped lake lies close enough to town that it’s a favorite fishing, boating and field trip spot for the 1,000-person community in far northwest Montana. But it’s much more, too. Alvord’s water provides one of the state’s few nesting sites for common loons, its mid-elevation shoreline serves moose and elk as favored winter range, and its setting on the southern edge of the Purcell Mountains—a range that stretches north into vast Canadian wild lands—helps connect sensitive grizzlies, Canada lynx and wolverines with habitat cores farther south in the Cabinet and Bitterroot ranges.

Much of that value would have vanished without the collaborative conservation effort that led to Vital Ground’s purchase of 142 acres of forested shoreline in 2015. Read the full story here and check out a feature on the community effort in High Country News.

Alvord Lake at a Glance

  • 142 acres, including one-third of a mile of Alvord Lake shoreline
  • Balances habitat value with public access for recreation and education
  • Combines with Kootenai National Forest lands to complete protection of lakeshore
  • Partners include U.S. Forest Service, Montana FWP, Society of American Foresters and Yaak Valley Forest Council