Montana Association of Land Trusts

Private Land Conservation

Glenn Marx
Executive Director
PO Box 892
Helena, MT 59624

News and Reports

Date: 3/16/2018
Title: MALT Helps Sponsor Ties to the Land Workshop
Summary: Forest health and family succession of private forestland are key topics in the upcoming Ties to the Land Workshop, sponsored by the Montana Forest Stewardship Foundation and the Montana Association of Land Trusts.
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Date: 3/14/2018
Title: Kaniksu Land Trust Celebrates Ospreys
Summary: Kaniksu Land Trust is sponsoring a presentation on March 16 in Sandpoint titled "The Ospreys of North Idaho," featuring a presentation by Dr. Wayne Melquist. The event features two showings - 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM - at the Little Panida Theatre, with meet and greets set for 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Dr. Melquist has studied ospreys for 45 years. Tickets for the event are $5 and are on sale now.
Date: 3/12/2018
Title: GVLT Receives Conservation District Stewardship Award
Summary: Gallatin Valley Land Trust was named the recipient of the Bill Wright Conservation Award in Land Stewardship by the Gallatin Conservation District on March 9. In a Facebook post, GVLT wrote: THANK YOU for this incredible honor. We are humbled to work alongside our valley's farmers and ranchers, exceptional stewards of our open lands.
Date: 3/8/2018
Title: FWP Commission Expected to Vote on Sandhill Cranes Project in April
Summary: The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission will be one of the final steps for Flathead Land Trust's West Valley Wetlands Project, a project that would conserve key sandhill crane habitat and provide access for viewing and educational experiences as well. The commission meets April 19 in Livingston. A Missoulian article touted the work done by FLT and partners to bring the proposal to the commission, and highlighted the wildlife, wetland, agricultural, wildlife viewing and educational opportunities associated with the project. The $1.4 million project is complex, with diverse funding sources and specific goals for project outcomes from some of those sources.
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Date: 3/7/2018
Title: Gallatin County Commission Gives Final Approval for June Open Land Mill Levy
Summary: Gallatin County Commissioners voted unanimously on March 6 to place an open space mill levy on the June 2018 ballot. That means voters will have an opportunity to approve the levy, which if passed would provide approximately $20 million over a 15-year period for county open land conservation and Regional Park improvements.
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Date: 3/5/2018
Title: Study Shows Broad Use of Helena Community Trails and $4 Million Economic Boost
Summary: A 2017 survey by the Montana Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research shows 63,000 hikers, runners, and bikers recreated on Helena's South Trails in 2017. The report, released through Prickly Pear Land Trust last week, also shows users of the trails spent over $4 million in the local area in the summer of 2017. “PPLT strives for bettering quality of life benchmarks and this real-time data provides important information to assist in our planning and understanding of the economic and social impacts of our South Hills land acquisition and trails work,“ said PPLT executive director Mary Hollow. “It was wonderful to see the high values placed on our work in building the South Hills land estate and establishing and maintaining the trails system with the city of Helena and U.S. Forest Service over the years.“
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Date: 3/2/2018
Title: Gazette Opinion: Ranchers, Public Win with Horse Creek Easement
Summary: The Billings Gazette strongly endorsed a proposed eastern Montana conservation easement by MT FWP that would generate hunter access, conserve wildlife habitat, retain agricultural production and protect property rights. The editorial strongly encourages the Montana Land Board to approve the easement at its March meeting. MALT testified in support of the easement at the February Land Board meeting.
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Date: 3/1/2018
Title: These Snails Even Run in Winter
Summary: Prickly Pear Land Trust in Helena has organized a friendly group of trail runners who run each Tuesday at noon, and they call themselves the Happy Snails.
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Date: 2/28/2018
Title: Gallatin County Commissioners Advance Open Space Ballot Measure
Summary: Gallatin County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution on Feb. 27 that recommends a mill levy go on the June 2018 primary ballot to fund the county's open space program and pay for some work at the Gallatin County Regional Park. The commission will hold a final vote on the ballot language at its meeting next week. Montana land trusts have been advocating for the June open spave ballot measure, which if passed would provide close to $20 million over a 15-year period.
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Date: 2/26/2018
Title: Bitter Root Land Trust Helping Expand Hamilton City Park
Summary: The Bitter Root Land Trust is working with the city of Hamilton and others to create "an incredible community asset for a long, long time.“
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Date: 2/23/2018
Title: Gallatin County Seeking to Balance Conservation and Growth
Summary: “This valley is going to keep on growing, the wave is coming, we're not here to stop it,“ said Mark Kehke, board president of Gallatin Valley Land Trust. He said partnerships with the community, city and county could help direct where growth happens, “or maybe, more importantly, where growth doesn't happen.“
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Date: 2/22/2018
Title: Montana TNC Featured at Forest Landowner Conference

Summary: Steve Kloetzel and Chris Bryant of The Nature Conservancy in Montana are featured presenters at the Ninth Annual Forest Landowner Conference, set for the Helena Radisson Colonial Hotel on Friday, April 27. The conference is sponsored by the Montana Forest Stewardship Foundation and Northwest Management, Inc. The conference theme is "Becoming the Best Forest Steward Possible" and starts at 8:30 am. At 8:45 am, Steve and Chris will present during the opening session and discuss TNC's forest properties and forest management objectives.
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Date: 2/21/2018
Title: Land Board Delays Vote on Eastern Montana Conservation Easement
Summary: Proposed conservation easement offers wildlife habitat, agricultural stability, abundant hunting and recreational access, and legal opportunity for oil and gas production. The Montana Association of Land Trusts is a proponent of the proposal.
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Date: 2/20/2018
Title: Land Trusts Seek Levy for Gallatin Valley Open Land
Summary: After months of discussions, research and planning with local officials, Gallatin County land trusts are advocating an open land levy vote in June, a move supported by the Gallatin County Commission.
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Date: 2/19/2018
Title: TPL Helps Orchestrate Whitefish Forest Project
Summary: The Trust for Public Land, two state agencies, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Weyerhaeuser have teamed up to conserve over 7,000 acres of forestland near Whitefish in northwest Montana. The Flathead Beacon reported that the complex transaction called for TPL to purchase the land from Weyerhaeuser, and after the fee title purchase, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks purchased a conservation easement on the property that allows for sustainable forest management of the property. The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation closed purchase of the land on Feb. 15, and will manage it as part of the Stillwater State Forest. Montana's two senators support the deal. Listing its benefits, Sen. Jon Tester called it a “win-win-win-win-win.“ Sen. Steve Daines said, “It's good to see federal, state and private partners come together to protect public access and timber management.“
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Date: 2/18/2018
Title: FVLT Receives Funds for Potomac Conservation
Summary: Five Valleys Land Trust, the NRCS, the Missoula County Commission and county Open Space Program have successfully worked with the Hayes family to conserve 569 acres of historical ranch ground near Potomac. Lee Newspapers featured the county's funding approval for the project and the historical and agricultural value of the property in its Feb. 18 editions. “The working landscape with 94 percent important agricultural soils includes grassland, forest and wetland habitats that connect with other private, protected lands,“ said Vickie Edwards, Five Valleys conservation projects manager. “This easement exemplifies that voluntary, private land conservation and conservation easements are effective tools in conserving important agricultural soils in Missoula County.“
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Date: 2/16/2018
Title: Senator Daines Works With Alliance, Introduces Syndication Legislation
Summary: Senator Steve Daines has been working with the Land Trust Alliance leadership on a Senate version of H.R. 4459, The Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act of 2917, and on Feb. 16 the Senator introduced S. 2436. The essentially identical bills seek to address the issue of conservation easement “syndication“ by: 1) Stopping those who would abuse a charitable incentive for profit, while 2) Continuing to reward honest philanthropy. MALT Board President Gavin Ricklefs sent individual letters to all three members of the Montana Congressional Delegation expressing MALT's appreciation for Sen. Daines' sponsorship and voicing land trust support for the legislation. In his letter, Gavin writes that, “We cannot afford to lose public support for this important conservation tool that you helped put into place to recognize and reward true charity. Previous attempts by the IRS and the conservation community to halt these abusive transactions have been unsuccessful. That's where the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act comes in. It will continue to reward honest philanthropy and stop those who would abuse a charitable incentive for profit. This bill is straightforward and narrowly drafted, and it takes care to create an important exception for family partnerships.“ A copy the MALT's letter to Senator Daines is attached. In an Alliance press release, Alliance President Andrew Bowman said, “These bipartisan bills would prevent abuse while ensuring the vast majority of conservation easements can continue to go forward as truly charitable endeavors. On behalf of the Alliance's 1,000 member land trusts, I applaud Sen. Daines, Sen. Stabenow, Rep. Thompson and Rep. Kelly for their leadership on this urgent issue.“
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Date: 2/15/2018
Title: Flathead Land Trust, Park Side Credit Union in Partners Program
Summary: Flathead Land Trust announced it has been selected by Park Side Credit Union to be part of the Park Side Partner Program in 2018. Two other Flathead nonprofits partnering with Park Side Credit Union are the Nate Chute Foundation and Kalispell HEART Program. FLT reports the unique, innovative campaign is in its seventh year and Park Side has donated more than $150,000 to over thirty nonprofit organizations through the Partner Program. “Our objective is to create an unparalleled network of collaboration within and among the nonprofit sector, and the credit union couldn't be happier to facilitate such an achievement“ says Josh Kroll, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Park Side.
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Date: 2/14/2018
Title: Montana TNC Working to Conserve Sage Grouse Habitat
Summary: The Nature Conservancy in Montana is working with the Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program and the Hansen Ranch near Dillon to conserve 13,810 acres of critical sage grouse habitat. Comments on are the proposal are being accepted until March 14.
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Date: 2/13/2018
Title: Land Trust Stewards Gather at Rock Creek
Summary: A large group of land trust conservation easement stewards met recently to exchange information about their roles and their work within the world of Montana private land conservation. An article in the MALT newsletter contains a photo and more information about the meeting, which took place at Five Valley Land Trust's Confluence Property. Stewards work with landowners and help organizations monitor and enforce conservation easements.
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Date: 2/9/2018
Title: Vital Ground Foundation Debuts New Logo
Summary: The Vital Ground Foundation, a nonprofit land trust based in Missoula and focused on grizzly bear conservation, has a new logo. The new logo features artist Monte Dolack's walking grizzly from “The Great Bear.“
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Date: 2/8/2018
Title: Missoula Open Land Program Looks to Conserve Potomac Ranch
Summary: The Missoula County Parks, Trails and Open Lands Program is gathering information about the benefits of the program, and is also examining a proposal to help fund conservation of a 596-acre ranch in the Potomac area. From the Missoulian article: “This project would conserve working lands as well as wildlife habitat and open space,“ said Kali Becher, the natural resource specialist for the county's Parks, Trails and Open Lands program. “There is a small wetland area in the lower portions of the ranch. It's currently undeveloped land and contains a lot of agricultural land and valuable timber land." The easement is being coordinated by the Five Valleys Land Trust.
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Date: 2/7/2018
Title: 2018 Farm Bill Key to Sage Grouse Conservation
Summary: Jeff Laszlo, of the Western Landowners Alliance, writes in op-ed about sage grouse conservation: It's now time for landowners, producers and rural communities to contact their representatives in Washington, D.C., and ask for strong support of Farm Bill conservation programs. Taking on shared challenges like species conservation and recovery increasingly requires that we look beyond geographic, political and jurisdictional boundaries to achieve the enduring outcomes that everyone desires.“
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Date: 2/5/2018
Title: MALT Recognizes Out West Funding in New Report
Summary: The Montana Association of Land Trusts has released a report for The Laundress and John Mayer recognizing their efforts in support of Montana private land conservation. The five-page report was sent to John Mayer and The Laundress on Feb. 1 and highlights the valuable work of Montana's land trusts for Montana's economy, landscape, outdoor recreation and communities.
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Date: 2/1/2018
Title: President Trump Signs Alex Diekmann Peak Bill
Summary: President Donald Trump on Jan. 31 signed legislation introduced and supported by the Montana Congressional Delegation to name a Madison Mountain Range peak in honor of land trust community leader Alex Diekmann. Alex was a conservation project specialist with The Trust for Public Land based in Bozeman and worked throughout the state to make Montana a better place. Two years ago today Alex lost his battle with cancer. MALT extends a sincere thank you to Senator Steve Daines, Senator John Tester, Congressman Greg Gianforte, Alan Front of Conservation Pathways, and everyone who made this achievement possible.
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Date: 1/31/2018
Title: Billings Gazette: We Are a Conservationist State
Summary: The Jan. 30 Billings Gazette editorial based on the eighth annual Colorado College “Conservation in the West“ poll ends with this statement: Eighty-two percent of Montanans call themselves conservationists, a larger proportion than ever before in the Colorado Poll. All members of our congressional delegation should consider that viewpoint.
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Date: 1/30/2018
Title: Five Valleys Land Trust Helps Conserve Jocko Valley Land
Summary: Five Valleys Land Trust has worked with landowners Elon Gilbert and Susie Miller to conserve 155 acres of prime agricultural lands in the Jocko Valley. Susie Miller and Elon Gilbert have stewarded the land here for over 20 years. The Miller-Gilbert-Jocko conservation easement is bordered by protected or Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal lands, increasing its conservation value and providing habitat connectivity for the area's vibrant wildlife, including eagles, black bears and grizzly bears. The land has long been used for agriculture and the National Resource Conservation Service deems 90% of the land as Prime if Irrigated.
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Date: 1/29/2018
Title: Public Funding for Parks and Trails a Major Plus for Bozeman
Summary: The Bozeman Daily Chronicle's Jan. 28 editorial touts the benefits of the voter-approved $15 million measure that passed in 2012 ... community walking trails, Story Mill Community Park, soccer fields, new dog park, and creek restored to its natural course. The editorial ends with: "Many years from now, Bozemanites will look back with gratitude to all who have participated in this extraordinarily successful effort."
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Date: 1/26/2018
Title: Poll Shows Montana Support for Conservation
Summary: From the eighth annual Colorado College “Conservation in the West“ poll: "In state-by-state reviews, Montana topped that list with 82 percent self-identifying as conservationist."
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Date: 1/25/2018
Title: PPLT's Lanie White Featured Montana Treasures Video
Summary: Prickly Pear Land Trust's Lanie White is featured in Freehub Magazine's Montana Treasures short video on mountain biking, freedom, and empowerment. In the fall of 2017, FreeHub Magazine released a series called "Montana Treasures". This project features a selection of individuals within Montana's mountain bike community "who are constantly striving to progress the sport", whether it be through trail advocacy, trail building, land management, retail, or in other ways. Featured here is local rider, Prickly Pear Land Trust employee, and Girls Thrive volunteer Lanie White and her story of empowerment and freedom on the bike.
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Date: 1/24/2018
Title: USDA Secretary Perdue Releases 2018 Farm Bill Priorities
Summary: Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has released USDA's 2018 Farm Bill policy goals and priorities. Two of the stated priorities are: 1) Ensure that voluntary conservation programs balance farm productivity with conservation benefits so the most fertile and productive lands remain in production while land retired for conservation purposes favor more environmentally sensitive acres. 2) Support conservation programs that ensure cost-effective financial assistance for improved soil health, water and air quality and other natural resource benefits.
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Date: 1/23/2018
Title: RMEF Membership Soars Above 227,650 Members
Summary: The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's membership grew for the ninth straight year to a new total of 227,650 members, a 50 percent increase since 2008.
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Date: 1/22/2018
Title: Time to Renew Commitment to Gallatin County Open Lands
Summary: Kris Kumlien, president of the Madison-Gallatin Chapter of Trout Unlimited, writes in a Bozeman Daily Chronicle guest column that the Gallatin County open space programs have been valuable for local residents and the local economy. "The Gallatin County Open Lands Program has a proven track record of success, but funds for the program have all been expended. It's time to renew our commitment to this program and our future. Doing so will ensure we afford our children and grandchildren the same opportunities I enjoyed as a kid growing up in this special place."
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Date: 1/19/2018
Title: Forest Stewardship Workshop Coming Up April 9-11
Summary: Land trust field staff field staff (land trust stewardship and agency field staff) who work with private forest land owners are invited to register for a Forest Stewardship Workshop for Professionals, set for April 9-11 at the UM Lumbrecht Experimental Forest. The bulk of the seminar will focus on familiarizing attendees with the elements of stewardship plans and reviewing the skills needed to produce one. Ryan Lutey of The Vital Ground Foundation will be discussing how Vital Ground integrates forest stewardship/management in its easements, specifically emphasizing the function and utility of forest stewardship plans in the long-term process of monitoring and enforcing easements. See the brochure for more details. The three-day workshop is provided at a pretty amazing rate of $110 thanks to significant underwriting from The Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and MSU Extension.
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Date: 1/18/2018
Title: Montana TNC Serves on New Parks in Focus Commission
Summary: Governor Steve Bullock announced the formation of a new Parks in Focus Commission, a group tasked with strengthening and funding Montana's State Parks system. The effort will involve some members of the land trust community: Mark Aagenes, director of external affairs for The Nature Conservancy in Montana will serve on the commission, and Deb Love (former Trust for Public Land director) is an advisor and coordinator for the effort.
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Date: 1/17/2018
Title: Alex Diekmann Peak Legislation Passes House
Summary: The proposal to name an unnamed Madison Mountain Range peak after Alex Diekmann passed the House on Jan. 16 by a 400-3 vote. Next stop is the President's desk! See the link and watch Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte introduce the bill on the House floor. Alex lost his battle with cancer on Feb. 1, 2016.
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Date: 1/16/2018
Title: On the Shoulders of Giants Now Available Online
Summary: The Montana Association of Land Trusts film "On the Shoulders of Giants: The Story of Montana Private Land Conservation" is now broadly available for online viewing. The MALT film, produced in 2016, tells the story of Montana's private land conservation pioneers and leaders, and about the value and benefits that flow to Montana's economy, outdoor recreation, conservation, agriculture, and way of life from the work of Montana's land trusts and landowners. The Eric Ian film has been widely acclaimed after showings throughout Montana and across the country.
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Date: 1/15/2018
Title: RMEF Wildlife Leadership Awards Open Through March 1
Summary: The application window for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 2018 Wildlife Leadership Award (WLA) scholarships is now open through March 1. The WLA scholarship program was established in 1991 to "recognize, encourage and promote leadership among future wildlife management professionals." The scholarships are awarded to undergraduate wildlife students, and carry a $3,000 scholarship and one-year membership to RMEF. All qualifications and application procedures are outlined on the RMEF website.
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Date: 1/14/2018
Title: Kaniksu Land Trust Nears Fundraising Goal for Pine Street Woods
Summary: A Sandpoint Reader newspaper article reports on Kaniksu Land Trust's successful fundraising efforts to create the Pine Street Woods Community Forest. KLT has raised 75 percent of the project's $2.1 million goal.
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Date: 1/12/2018
Title: Montana Land Reliance Greater Yellowstone Ag Forum Set for Feb. 7
Summary: The Montana Land Reliance is sponsoring the 3rd Annual Greater Yellowstone Agricultural Forum on Feb. 7, with doors opening at 9:00 AM, at The Gathering Place at the Lewis & Clark in Three Forks. Forum topics include invasive species, biocontrol of weeds, use of livestock to control weeds, and more. Additional speakers will provide information about their programs and services. For more information contact Kathryn Kelly of MLR at 579-5481 or
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Date: 1/11/2018
Title: Alex Diekmann Peak Legislation Passes House Committee
Summary: Another major step toward the creation of Alex Diekmann Peak: The House Natural Resources Committee passed the Alex Diekmann Designation Act of 2017 on Jan. 10, and the bill will be headed to the House floor for action. The bill, sponsored by Senator Steve Daines and strongly supported by Senator Jon Tester and Congressman Greg Gianforte, has already passed the Senate. A Bozeman Chronicle article reports on passage of the bill and contains quotes of support from all three members of the Montana Congressional Delegation.
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Date: 1/10/2018
Title: Vital Ground and Partners Help Reduce Bear and People Conflicts
Summary: In addition to operating as a land trust in the northern Rocky Mountains, The Vital Ground Foundation also funds conservation partners that work to reduce conflicts between bears and people. Last year, Vital Ground's Conservation Partners Grant Program was extended to Mission, Madison and Big Hole valleys.
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Date: 1/9/2018
Title: FVLT, NRCS Partner-Up for Ag Conservation
Summary: Done deal: Five Valleys Land Trust, NRCS and its ALE program, and the Open Cross Ranch partner-up to conserve 5,000 acres of prime ranch ground in the Flint Creek Valley.
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Date: 1/8/2018
Title: The Nature Conservancy in Montana Working on Dillon-Area Ranch Conservation
Summary: Dillon ranch family, The Nature Conservancy in Montana, and the NRCS team up for agriculture conservation and ranch operation stability.
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Date: 1/5/2018
Title: Land Trust Alliance Sets 2018 Webinar Schedule
Summary: The Land Trust Alliance has scheduled a broad array of webinars to start the new year, with 30 webinars scheduled starting on Jan. 11. The complete 2018 Alliance webinar schedule is available online on the Alliance's website and a downloadable PDF is also available. The six-month webinar schedule (January through June) examines a multitude of private land conservation issues and topics, including risk management, appraisals, farmland conservation, organizational succession planning, conservation messaging, mergers, rebranding, and more. In addition, a series of complimentary webinars is also available on topics such as federal funding appraisals, Farm Bill funding, congressional advocacy, and federal funding for landscape conservation. MALT's newsletters will provide periodic information on Alliance webinars but full and complete information and contact information is available on the Alliance's website.
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Date: 1/3/2018
Title: TPL, Stimson Lumber Team Up to Strengthen Access and Forest Management
Summary: The Trust for Public Land and Stimson Lumber strengthen recreational access and improve public land management with Lolo National Forest acquisition.
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Date: 1/2/2018
Title: The Nature Conservancy in Montana's 2017 Conservation Highlights
Summary: The Nature Conservancy in Montana has posted its top five conservation highlights in 2017, which range from grasslands and river conservation to forest and wildlife projects.
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