By Andi Bourne
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
OVANDO – The Blackfoot Community Conservation Area (BCCA) is located in the mid-reaches of the Blackfoot watershed near Ovando Mountain. It combines community forest ownership and management within the Core 5,609 acres with cooperative ecosystem management for multiple-use across public and private lands for 41,000 acres in the Blackfoot Watershed.
Established in 2005, the community vision for the BCCA is to develop a working landscape that balances ecological diversity with local economic sustainability for the future benefit of the Blackfoot watershed community. This strategy of management and collaboration is one of the earliest examples of a community forest in the nation.
Plum Creek originally owned the Core. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Western Montana Land Steward and Council member Steve Kloetzel said that it was the most expensive Plum Creek land available at the time because of its high recreation value designated as “Highest and Best Use”. It was appraised at $3,800/acre.