The Elk Creek Conservation Area is a square-mile parcel of land at the confluence of Elk Creek and the Swan River, owned and managed by Swan Valley Connections and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). The land was acquired in 2006 to protect vital fish and wildlife habitat, forest resources and public access. According to Montana Dept. Fish Wildlife and Parks, Elk Creek is one of the most important bull trout streams in Montana.
Protecting Elk Creek
Elk Creek begins high in the Mission Mountains Wilderness. In the early 1990's, 2.5 sections in the upper reaches of Elk Creek, outside of the Wilderness, were protected through a land exchange between the Flathead National Forest and Plum Creek.
In 2006, Swan Ecosystem Center and CSKT acquired Section 35 on Elk Creek with funding provided by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land trust organization, facilitated the acquisition. BPA holds a conservation easement on the land.
A joint management plan was completed in September 2007. A five person committee, made up of two Swan Valley residents, two Tribal representatives, and one representative of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, oversees management of the Elk Creek Conservation Area.