Why it matters

bitterroot horse pasture photo: Alan Applebury

The Bitter Root Land Trust is the only land trust organization focused on the needs and challenges of land conservation in the Bitterroot Valley.

Founded in 1996 by a group of Bitterroot Valley residents, the Bitter Root Land Trust is a community supported organization, governed by a local volunteer board of directors. The Bitter Root Land Trust fulfills its mission of land conservation by assisting landowners with a variety of tools through which they can achieve their goals for the preservation and stewardship of their land.

Chief among these tools are conservation easements, which allow landowners to voluntarily enter into a legally binding agreement with a qualified land trust to permanently restrict some or all development of their property in order to preserve resource values of the land. Other tools include the implementation of stewardship projects on protected land and land donations.

The Bitter Root Land Trust has a unique place among the half dozen or more national and Montana organizations that do land trust work in the region. The Bitter Root Land Trust is the only land trust organization focused on the needs and challenges of land conservation in the Bitterroot Valley. Ravalli County has for many years been among the fastest growing counties in Montana. For a variety of historical reasons the valley has a particularly fragmented pattern of land ownership and landowners face a myriad of development pressures. The staff and board of the Bitter Root Land Trust are dedicated to working with our friends and neighbors in the valley to realize their conservation aims on properties – large or small -- that have important natural resource, agricultural, and scenic values. We truly are a special land trust for a special place.