Sandhill Cranes Sunset in West Valley - Photo Credit: Dick Walker
Sandhill Cranes Sunset in West Valley – Photo Credit: Dick Walker

Flathead Land Trust is working to conserve a 400-acre portion of the Sandhill Crane staging area in West Valley. Laura Katzman of the Land Trust reported on this project at our October meeting. Here is a short summary for those who missed her presentation.

Large numbers of Sandhill Cranes, at times more than 400 birds, gather each fall in a four square mile migration staging area in West Valley. This unique mix of pothole lake wetland habitat and open farmland is the only known staging area for Sandhills in the Flathead. It also provides important habitat for 143 other bird species including Northern Pintail, American Widgeon, Cinnamon Teal, Lesser Scaup, Trumpeter Swan, and Tundra Swan. The area is only 2 miles from the growing northwest side of Kalispell, which means we could lose this unique habitat and the surrounding farmland to development before long.

Flathead Land Trust is working to secure permanent conservation of a 400-acre portion of this staging area, while also preserving a family farming legacy that is part of our agricultural heritage in West Valley. The Trust has already secured a large part of the funding needed for the project through grants and major donations, and is now seeking community help to obtain the rest.

For more information on the project and on how you can help see