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‘The Durfees: Saving a Montana Public Land Treasure’

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New documentary by Bozeman team premieres at The Emerson June 13

EBS STAFF

Mission: Montana‘s debut documentary film—“The Durfees: Saving a Montana Public Land Treasure”—premieres at The Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture on Tuesday, June 13, at 7 p.m.

The film explores the fight to save the Durfee Hills—the local name for a patchwork of public land parcels scattered southeast of Lewistown, Montana, amounting to nearly 5,000 acres—from a land exchange proposed by the billionaire Wilks brothers that would render the popular elk hunting area inaccessible.

The parcels are entirely surrounded by the Wilks Ranch, and the brothers—who made their fortune in the Texas fracking boom and now rank second on the list of Montana’s largest landowners—have been pursuing a land transfer deal with the Bureau of Land Management that would eliminate those public inholdings in the Durfees, resulting in the near-complete loss of public access to an elk herd numbering about 6,000.

The story centers on Doug Krings, a traditional bowhunter from Lewistown, and his 12-year-old daughter Emma, who goes on her first elk hunt in the Durfees.

“The Durfees” explores the background story of the Wilks’ land exchange proposal and the community that rose up to stop it in its tracks. The film also explores the larger context of the national public land transfer agenda and the complex web of challenges that public lands are likely to face in coming years.

Mission: Montana is an outdoor media collaborative founded by a Bozeman team comprised of journalist Elliott Woods and filmmaker Greg Cairns. Tickets for “The Durfees” are available on eventbrite.com and at the door.

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