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