A 500-square-mile, 320,000-acre swath of forestland will be sold to a group of conservation-minded buyers by Plum Creek Timber, in one of the largest sales of forestland for preservation purposes in United States history, according to the New York Times.
Half of the $510 million purchase will come from private donations, while the other half will come from the federal government under a new tax-credit bond mechanism recently passed by Congress.
The forestland, located in western Montana, was purchased by the Nature Conservancy, a non-profit group that buys forestland for preservation throughout the world, and the Trust for Public Land, a non-profit conservation group that buys land for protection in the United States.
The conservation effort will “promote continued public access to these lands for fishing, hiking, hunting and other recreational pursuits,” according to a statement from Plum Creek.
"This will be the most significant land conservation project in the state's history, by far,” said U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), in a statement.
The lands in the agreement, which include part of the Swan Valley and areas surrounding Missoula, are located in the heart of the “Crown of the Continent,” one of the most ecologically diverse and intact biological systems remaining in the United States, according to the statement.