MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Federal land officials have closed on a $5.6 million property purchase in Montana adding to the amount of public ownership in the region.

The Missoulian reported Friday that the Bureau of Land Management bought more than 11 square miles (28 square kilometers) of public lands Thursday north of the Blackfoot River.

Federal officials say they used money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to make the purchase, with plans to buy additional areas in the coming years.

Officials say they expect to make a $4.5 million purchase of about 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) of land next year.

Officials say the goal is to return formerly public lands that were given away decades ago and connect a patchwork of interspersed public and private lands.


Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

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