HELENA - Gov. Greg Gianforte is requesting the federal government start the process which will eventually lead to the transfer of more than 36,000 acres of State Trust Lands as part of the massive Flathead Water Compact settlement.
The Montana Water Resources Protection Act was passed by Congress last year, ending decades of water rights negotiations with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
One provision requires the State of Montana to exchange state trust lands with the federal government. Most of the tracts are scattered across the Flathead Reservation in a "checkerboard" pattern and often have limited to no access.
The state says specific tracts haven't been identified, but the state is interested in parcels that have better public access and could generate better revenue for Montana public schools.