West Valley bird overlook celebration

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Sandhill cranes feed in a field near a pothole pond west of Kalispell last week.

The Flathead Land Trust, Flathead Audubon and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will celebrate a conservation easement and bird viewing area in the West Valley from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6.

The late in the day event is scheduled so folks can see migrating sandhill cranes land on about 400 acres of land under a recently negotiated conservation easement with the Grosswiler and Marvin families.

The land is a mix of wetlands and farm fields, where the iconic cranes rest on their annual migrations.

Most of the easement is closed to public access to protect the birds and private property, but a quarter-acre of land has been made public for a viewing area.

The area was made public thanks to over 80 partners and contributors from the community.

Under the conservation easements, the land will remain in private ownership and continue to be farmed and managed by the landowner while protecting the valuable bird and wildlife habitat in perpetuity.

The families have been farming in the West Valley for over 100 years and the conservation project will preserve their agricultural legacy.

Space is limited at the event, so please RSVP to Laura Katzman at lkatzman@flatheadlandtrust.org or 752-8293 to reserve a spot and get further details on how to get to the event.

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