Land Trust News

Kelly Kountz Photo / Courtesy of Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Senator Daines Calls on Congress to Reauthorize LWCF

Montana Senator Steve Daines has sent a letter to US Senate Leadership advocating passage of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Authorization and Funding Act, which contains permanent reauthorization and dedicated funding for the LWCF. Daines’ letter advocates for Congress to pass the bill within a package of natural resource bills during the post-midterm election lame duck session of Congress. The Montana land trust community is encouraged by and grateful for the Senator’s consistent actions in support of the LWCF.

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16 Inductees to Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame Announced

Congratulations to the 16 Montanans who have been selected for 2018 class of the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame. “It is a remarkable list of men and women whose accomplishments span a lifetime of keeping watch over Montana’s natural wonders,“ said Bruce Whittenberg, director of the Montana Historical Society and member of MOHF. The new class of Montana Outdoor Hall of Famers – the third since 2014 – will be honored during an induction ceremony and banquet on Dec. 1 at the Marriott Colonial Hotel in Helena. The group includes Stan Meyer and Phil and Robin Tawney.

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RMEF Celebrates Expansion of Bass Creek Access

A Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation project helped expand the Bass Creek Recreation Area in the Bitterroot Valley and provides access and wildlife connectivity in multiple watersheds. Funding sources for the project included the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust. Mike Mueller, Senior Land Program Manager for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, one of the central organizations in cinching the deal, said the theme of the project was, “Never give up!..A hundred and twenty acres may not seem like much. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is used to doing deals for 20,000 to 30,000 acres, but sometimes the smallest ones are the most important.”

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NRCS – Land Trust Alliance Conservation Video Includes Montanans

A new national video that includes Montanans highlights the importance of the USDA Agricultural Land Easement Program to open land conservation and food production. The video is titled “Keeping Working Lands in Working Hands” and includes Gallatin Valley Land Trust and Bitter Root Land Trust in addition to Gallatin Valley and Bitterroot Valley landowners.

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I Want This to be a Working Ranch

The Nature Conservancy in Montana, the NRCS, the Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program and – most importantly – the Hansen Family partnered to complete a 13,535-acre conservation easement in Beaverhead County that maintains ranch operations and conserves wildlife habitat. The Montana Standard and other newspapers showcased the project last week along with a Hansen family photo that includes TNC High Divide Headwaters Coordinator Jim Berkey (standing second from the right). “I’m fourth generation and I want my daughter to run the ranch some day and her kids and even if something happens and we can no longer do it, I want this to be a working ranch and stay the way it is,“ Eric Hansen, one of the ranch owners, said in the article. The Hansen Ranch is the largest private ownership in the Medicine Lodge Valley, south of Dillon, and plays host to wildlife, including the greater sage grouse, pronghorns, wolves, wolverines, elk, moose and mule deer. The project was funded in part by the NRCS ALE Program and the Montana Sage-Grouse Habitat Conservation Program.

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