Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Jill M. Belsky

Commitee Members

Martin Nie, Tom Roy


landowner values, Blackfoot Valley, community forests


University of Montana


Duvall, Alison, M.S., Autumn 2006 Environmental Studies Towards Community-Owned Forests: Landowner Perspectives on the Blackfoot Community Conservation Area Chairperson: Dr. Jill Belsky The Blackfoot Community Project is a partnership among the Blackfoot Challenge, a landowner-based watershed organization in the Blackfoot Valley and The Nature Conservancy to purchase and re-sell up to 88,092 acres of mid-elevation Plum Creek Timber Company lands to private and public interests as an alternative to subdivision and fragmentation of the landscape. In line with the project’s goal to maintain the working landscapes of the Blackfoot Valley and rural lifestyle through a “community-driven” process, the partnership has proposed to set aside 5,600 areas of these former timberlands to create the Blackfoot Community Conservation Area (BCCA), an innovative institutional arrangement involving community-ownership. This study is a participatory research project to provide systematic information on questions raised by project leaders concerning the future ownership and management of the BCCA. Its main methods include ongoing participant observation and a mail survey to adjacent landowners of the proposed BCCA to document their priorities and perspectives related to BCCA ownership, management and use. The majority of landowners in the study either supported “community ownership” through the Blackfoot Challenge or raised concerns and asked for more information before making a decision. There was strong support for managing the BCCA for a variety of purposes to meet ecological and social benefits including wildlife habitat, weed management, wetlands/riparian areas, public access, recreation, rangelands/grazing and timber. The thesis emphasizes the importance of developing a BCCA management plan and process that considers all expressed views, though it recognizes the necessity of tradeoffs especially given many value differences between new and generational landowners, especially with regard to the issue of motorized recreational use.



© Copyright 2006 Alison L. Duvall