Buyer of Weyerhaeuser's Montana lands identified

KALISPELL, Mont. (From news reports) -- A Georgia-based investment group has confirmed it is buying 1,000 square miles of timberland in Montana from Weyerhaeuser.

An attorney for Southern Pine Plantation said the timberland investment company is buying the land and has no plans to change Weyerhaeuser's long-standing practices related to public access, forest management, grazing, existing outfitting agreements and conservation easements.

James Bowditch, the company's legal counsel, said they felt it was in the public interest to "provide this assurance to concerned Montanans."

Seattle-based Weyerhaeuser announced the $145 million cash sale on Dec. 17 without naming the buyer.

The sale is expected to close by June 2020.