Land Trust News

Kelly Kountz Photo / Courtesy of Gallatin Valley Land Trust

New Funding Source, New Program Details for Gallatin County Open Land Conservation

With the 2004 Gallatin County open lands program bond now exhausted, the county open lands program is shifting to new a funding source – a mill levy – which will generate a finite amount of funding each year (roughly $1.27 million) for voluntary incentive-based private land conservation projects.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported on Dec. 4 that the new funding process means some tweaks in the program’s rules, and possibly increased competition – and cooperation – among program funding applications.

From the Chronicle article: “We’ll have to be mindful of the money that’s available each year and will make sure to bring forward the projects that do the most conservation,” said Kathryn Kelly, the Greater Yellowstone manager for the Montana Land Reliance, a land trust that works with the open lands program.

The program will offer two windows for project application submittals, with the first 2019 application deadline coming up on Jan. 17.

“More than anything we’ve had one of the best open lands programs in the state for the last 20 years, and we expect it will continue to work well,” Brendan Weiner, Gallatin Valley Land Trust program manager, said in the article. “The big picture is we’re grateful we have a county and taxpayers that want to invest in conservation.”

More Ag Land Conservation in the Bitterroot’s Burnt Fork

Landowners Doug and Janis Astle, the Farm Bill, NRCS, a county conservation funding program and Bitter Root Land Trust have teamed up to conserve 220 acres of prime Bitterroot Valley agricultural lands in the Burnt Fork’s growing “conservation neighborhood.”

The Astles are thinking long-term about who will need this land in the future. “There’s always someone that needs a little space to have cows or whatever they’d want to farm. And if we don’t set some of this aside in this valley, that opportunity will disappear faster than we might realize.”

Montana Land Trusts Participate in GivingTuesday

Dec. 3, 2019 is GivingTuesday, a special day set aside as a time for people to generously donate to organizations and causes they support within their communities. Land trusts provide an array of services to Montanans – open land, community parks, trails, expanded access to public lands, increased outdoor recreational opportunities – and more. If “GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world,” a donation to your favorite land trusts is an excellent way to participate in this special day.

Mary Hollow & Prickly Pear Land Trust In Washington, DC to Receive Award

Prickly Pear Land Trust executive director Mary Hollow will be in Washington, DC, to receive a 2019 Army Community Partnership Award at a ceremony on Dec. 5, 2019, in the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon. Prickly Pear is one of ten national award winners, all selected for “exceptional community partnerships that have improved readiness, driven modernization and contributed to reform initiatives throughout the Army.”

Prickly Pear worked extensively with the Montana Army National Guard and Fort Harrison on the Peaks to Creeks Project, which includes the Tenmile Creek Park and trails project.

The Army’s press ceremony awards announcement reads: The Montana Army National Guard (MTARNG) and the Prickly Pear Land Trust will be recognized for their “Peaks to Creeks” initiative, which allowed MTARNG to reduce encroachment threats to Fort Harrison while creating public access to 558 acres along the banks of the Ten Mile Creek and Seven Mile Creek waterways. The partnership has also added 72 acres of open space to the Mount Helena City Park, creating new public access to recreational opportunities.

The Tenmile Creek Park and trails project is a nationally recognized community conservation project that provides gentle and wide trails for broad access, connects Tenmile Creek with Spring Meadow State Park, offers great nature learning opportunities and involved several supportive funders and partners to complete. The 2019 Army Community Partnership Award is more recognition of Prickly Pear’s efforts and accomplishments.

Army Press Release

Kaniksu Land Trust Pine Street Woods Rec Center Opens Dec. 21

Kaniksu Land Trust and the Sandpoint Nordic Club will hold a grand opening celebration for the Outdoor Recreation Center at Pine Woods on Dec. 21.

A KLT Facebook post provides additional information about the event.

Pine Street Woods is a 180-acre “gift to the community of Sandpoint” owned by KLT that provides a wealth of year-round outdoor recreation and education opportunities for community residents of all ages.

Montana Land Reliance Flathead Ag Forum Asks “Who’s Your Farmer?”

The Montana Land Reliance annual Flathead Agricultural Forum is set for Dec. 10 at the Hilton Garden in Kalispell and the title of this year’s forum is “Who’s Your Farmer?” The event runs 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM and is open to the public.

Several agricultural producers from the Flathead Valley have been lined up to speak: Scout Hendrickson – Commercial Hemp Regulations; Tryg Koch – Heritage Custom Farming; Doug Manning – Creston Farmer; Scott Mast – Creston Farmer; Hunter Riddle – Flathead Valley Hops; and Ted Wycall – North Shore Farm.

The forum poster encourages folks to “come hear about the challenges and opportunities facing the young producers of the Flathead.”

For more information about the forum contact MLR’s Mark Schiltz at 406-837-2178. Fltd Ag Forum PS

Gallatin Valley Land Trust and Others Look to Expand Trails West of Bozeman

Gallatin Valley Land Trust is working with several planning and civic entities to plan and possibly create an expansive trails system in a triangular area described as the west side of Bozeman, starting at 19th Street and moving west to Belgrade, including the Four Corners area. A Bozeman Daily Chronicle Nov. 21 article details the concept behind the overall planning proposal, and the specific trails component, which would be modeled after GVLT’s successful Main Street to the Mountains trails system.

     “We’ve seen some great success in other parts of the valley that when there’s a plan in place and some general guidelines about how to connect trails, this can happen,” said EJ Porth, a GVLT spokesperson. “Bozeman is the obvious example with Main Street to the Mountains. … It happened piece by piece, bit by bit, and now 30 years later, we have this great system.”

“Logging for Wildlife” Has Many Benefits

A new short video produced by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks highlights benefits of “wildlife logging.” Montana FWP and The Nature Conservancy in Montana discuss and present information about logging that produces many forest health and local economic benefits. The video focuses on the Blackfoot Wildlife Management Area and efforts to improve forest health, improve forest resiliency, reduce the risk of catastrophic fire, and improve wildlife habitat.