Conservation Focus Areas

Saving Working Farms and Ranches

Agriculture is a keystone of our community. Our rich farmland, local foods, and open spaces are gifts to pass on to future generations. That’s why we support strong farms and ranches and the families that work them by reducing the economic pressure on landowners to convert their land to development. Our voluntary conservation easements keep family farms and ranches intact and benefit us all by preserving our open, rural landscape and farming heritage.

“This farm has taken care of our family for generations. We are thankful we had the option to take care of the land through a conservation easement with Flathead Land Trust. They were wonderful to work with and we appreciate all their hard work.”
— Jerry & Aileen Brosten, owners of a 190-acre farm along the Flathead River

Preserving Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitat

We are fortunate in the Flathead Valley to have some of the richest and most diverse wildlife habitat in the world. The Flathead is an internationally significant watershed. Its river and wetland systems maintain our water quality and provide habitat for an amazing diversity of native fish and wildlife.

Through Flathead Land Trust, landowners can preserve and protect critical habitat for species that rely on healthy and intact land and water.

Migratory Bird Habitat

Tens of thousands of migratory birds use the Flathead Valley’s extensive wetlands, sloughs, riparian habitat, and water bodies as a critical refueling stop on their yearly journeys. A multi-year study by partnering agencies showed that migratory birds use a much larger area than was previously thought. To safeguard areas on which the birds rely, we have increased protection of the wetland complex near Smith Lake Waterfowl Production Area and the West Valley pothole wetlands.

“Protecting migrating birds is important to me. It always delights me to see such a variety of birds moving through in the spring and hear them returning south in the fall. It has been this way for time immemorial. We need to make sure their habitat remains intact.”
— Jean Triol, Flathead Land Trust member

Expanding Recreational Opportunities for the Community

We are devoted to the Flathead region and its people. We therefore invest in community projects that enhance recreational opportunities and public access for you and your family.

Our community projects include:

  • Adding to the well-used trail system in Lone Pine State Park
  • Helping create a permanent trail from Herron Park to Blacktail Mountain
  • Protecting the Lupfer section of the Whitefish Trail network
  • Helping create the popular McWenneger Slough fishing access
  • Increasing the size of the Pine Grove Pond fishing access site
  • Helping to create the Rivers Edge Community Fishing Pond in Columbia Falls.
  • Helping to conserve habitat and secure new public access along the north shore of Flathead Lake.
  • Conservation of the West Valley Wetlands and helping to create the West Valley Bird and Wildlife Viewing Area.
  • Helping to protect habitat and create new public access with the Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Wildlife Management Area and Somers Beach State Park.
  • Working with partners to create over 4 miles of new community trails and protect forestland near Bigfork

“It is my sincere wish that every child that grows up in the Flathead Valley will make a pilgrimage into the forest and spend a little time under the trees. If we can send our children into the wildness to touch nature, respect it and understand it, our planet will be a better place.”
— Sandra Guest Van Riper, whose family added land to Lone Pine State Park with a Flathead Land Trust Conservation easement.

In 2016, Flathead Land Trust released a new Conservation Plan which will guide our conservation objectives for the next 3-5 years.  You can download the summary of the plan or the full plan with maps below.

To Download a Copy of the Conservation Plan Summary Click Here.

To Download a Copy of the Full Conservation Plan (with Maps) Click Here.