Land Trust News

Kelly Kountz Photo / Courtesy of Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Conserving Superb Wildlife Habitat and Family Ranching

Bryant Jones always dreamed of owning a ranch. And he owns a spectacular one. His Willow Basin Ranch southwest of Dillon is exceptional for its high-quality wildlife habitat and its vast views of nothing but open country.

“Our nearest neighbors are fifteen miles away,” says Jones. “I love the solitude and rugged untouched spirit the area has. It’s a unique and undeveloped corner of the world. I want to keep it that way.”

Those are also qualities that convinced The Nature Conservancy in Montana to place a NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Agricultural Land Easement on about 4,000 acres of the Willow Basin Ranch.

The Willow Basin easement is one of two recently completed in the High Divide by The Nature Conservancy in Montana (TNC). Together they secure nearly 7,000 acres of superb wildlife habitat as well as the future of these family ranches. These latest two easements are part of nearly 40,000 acres that TNC has secured since the winter of 2018.

“The financial return (from the easement) was very attractive for someone just starting out in ranching with a young family,” says Jones. “It allows me the opportunity to continue ranching the land and preserves the wild untouched place that it is.”