Land Trust News

Kelly Kountz Photo / Courtesy of Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Sherrill, Pruitt, Hunter Win City Council Seats

Three people with land trust connections won election to city councils on Nov. 5. Amber Sherrill, former executive director and former board member at Five Valleys Land Trust, won a Ward 4 seat in Missoula with 63% of the vote. Ryan Hunter, land protection specialist with Flathead Land Trust, won a Ward 3 city election in Kalispell with 59% of the vote. Robin Pruitt, a former staffer and board member for Bitter Root Land Trust, won a Ward 1 council election in Hamilton with 68% of the vote. Congratulations to all three.

Vital Ground Helps Tell Story of Forest Legacy Program

Vital Ground has completed a new website — in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service — that contains an interactive Story Map website featuring species in the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern and Intermountain Regions. The separate website, which complements, helps convey to the public the benefits of the Forest Legacy Program while using stories, images, maps and pop-ups to feature the grizzly, Canada lynx, bull trout, whitebark pine and other sensitive species. Feature articles show the importance of wildlife-habitat conservation while sidebars depict economic benefits of conservation to communities like Whitefish and Seeley Lake.

Montana Land Reliance Book Launch Set for Nov. 5-6

“A Million Acres” is the title of the book anthology saluting the voluntary private land conservation success of The Montana Land Reliance, and “A Million Acres” will officially debut with two book launch gatherings and readings on Nov. 5 in Missoula and Nov. 6 in Helena. The event in Missoula takes place at Fact and Fiction Books at 7:00 PM and in Helena the event is at Gulch Distillers starting at 6:00 PM.

Senators Tester, Daines Help Rally LWCF FY20 Funding

Montana Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester are leaders within a Senate coalition to obtain full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in FY20.

Eight Senators are leading the bipartisan effort, which seeks an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Interior, Environment, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill to fully fund the LWCF for FY20. This same group of Senators has also introduced legislation to permanently fund the LWCF.

The MALT membership applauds Senators Tester and Daines for their steadfast commitment the LWCF program, funding levels, and projects.

Partnerships Generate 27,800 Acres of Forest Access and Conservation

The Trust for Public Land,  Stimson Lumber Company, the US Forest Service and Montana FWP have teamed up on two separate projects to ensure recreational access and conservation are protected on over 27,000 acres of western Montana forestlands.

The Beavertail to Bearmouth (B2B) project consists of 5,472 acres located east of Missoula near Beavertail State Park and within Lolo National Forest. In that project The Trust for Public Land and Stimson Lumber Company worked with the Lolo National Forest to acquire Stimson forestland.  The Land and Water Conservation Fund was instrumental in the project.

In the second project, FWP purchased a conservation easement on 22,295 acres near Libby, Montana, from Stimson Lumber. The Kootenai Forestlands project was made possible by a grant from the Forest Legacy Program, which is also funded through LWCF, and The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Acres for America Program.

Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines both voiced support for the two projects.

Gallatin Valley Land Trust Helps Connect Bozeman to the Bridgers

An Oct. 26 ribbon cutting ceremony officially opened up a 2.1 mile trail segment that connects Story Mill Community Park to the M Trail and Drinking Horse Trail in Bozeman, which means people can now walk from Bozeman to the Bridger Mountains.

Penelope Pierce, executive director of Gallatin Valley Land Trust, spoke to the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremony. She said the Bozeman nonprofit has had a clear vision of what the trail system could look like.

“Today, that dream is a reality,” Pierce said.

NRCS Sage Grouse Conservation Story Map Shows Partnerships and Success

The NRCS has produced comprehensive maps and information illustrating the abundant sage grouse conservation easement projects throughout the Montana. The information is presented in visually creative ways and shows how the NRCS and its partners – which include land trusts, the Montana sage grouse program and others – are working to conserve sage grouse populations and habitat.

Landowner, NRCS, Land Trust Partner in Stillwater County

The Key O Ranch, operated by the Keogh family, has been working with NRCS for decades to improve their rangeland health through grazing management to produce healthy cattle, clean water, and wildlife habitat. The Keoghs, Montana NRCS, and The Montana Land Reliance also teamed up in 2019 to place a conservation easement on the property, using the 2018 Farm Bill’s Agricultural Land Easement program.