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Partners Praised at Iron Mask/McMaster Dedication
story and photos by Marilyn Krause, Western Montana Zone
Spokane Creek on the McMaster Ranch flows into Hauser Lake east of Helena and provides critical spawning habitat for several species of fish.
BLM State Director Gene Terland recognized the partners critical to the acquisition of 11,000 acres in the Chain of Lakes area.
A ceremony on September 28 in Townsend recognized the partners that brought more than 11,000 acres in the Chain of Lakes area between Helena and Townsend into public ownership.
The McMaster Ranch and the Iron Mask property were transferred in phases to the BLM over the last few years thanks to the efforts of The Conservation Fund, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana's congressional delegation, Jim and Dolly McMaster, and the commissioners of Broadwater and Lewis & Clark counties. Both properties contain prime wildlife habitat and critical winter range for elk and big horn sheep. The BLM proposes to use both areas as "grass banks" for other permittees temporarily affected by fire or drought.