LINCOLN — Following months of initial presentation as well as five years of discussion, it looks like 2021 will be the year the Lincoln Prosperity Project moves into broader consideration.
The backers of the plan, which is aimed at preserving a multi-use future for public lands in the Upper Blackfoot, are hoping to secure Congressional support.
The Lincoln Prosperity Proposal is bringing together people from all viewpoints to back a plan that could mean a safer and economically secure future for the Upper Blackfoot.
“The process has been a collaborative one. We've had a lot of different interest groups at the table, including motorized recreation, non-motorized recreation, conservation interests,” explained Karyn Good, Upper Blackfoot Community Council member.
The proposal is identifying some 200,000 acres surrounding Lincoln – a combination of forest lands that could be used for recreation, wilderness, and forest management.
“There's really three key management issues that this proposal addresses and those are forest restoration, recreation, and conservation,” Good said.
Supporters of the Lincoln Prosperity Proposal were driven to float the management ideas by a number of factors -- including the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act to the east, and the proposed Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship to the west - and the vision is similar.
“The conservation component of this proposal would expand on the Scapegoat Wilderness,” Good told MTN News. “But it would also add a new wilderness designation that would help to protect our future hunting and fishing opportunities for generations to come.”
That additional piece, the 40,000 acre Nevada Mountain Wilderness, is seeing much of the initial attention. But there's a practical part too as residents remember when the town was surrounded by fire: “In 2017 we had fires all to the north of us, and we were probably a week away from the Rice Ridge Fire coming down into our valley as well, from Seeley,” recalled Lincoln Rural Fire Chief Zach Muse. “So, anything that we can do that will help Lincoln stay out of the crosshairs, you know, is a win.”
They hope the proposal will help the Forest Service by providing a tool for forest land management. “Like any small community, Lincoln has seen a share of disputes over the years. But backers of this project are excited to see the way the community is coming together on this proposal.”
“One of our goals is that that doesn't happen with this,” said Lincoln resident Bill Cyr. “Everybody was at the table. Everybody was asked to be at the table I should say, and we've got such a diverse background of opinions, values, lifestyles that are on this group.”
“It's hard to argue with it when there's so much diversity in this group, in this proposal,” Muse told MTN News.
“I hope and I feel that we really cover every aspect so that there’s no one group gets more than the other,” Cyr said. “No one group loses anything. We all got something out of this project.”
The Lincoln Prosperity Proposal is also targeted at the growing recreation economy.
A virtual open house is set for next month. Click here to learn more about the project.