Conserving water, wildlife, and working lands – for all generations

Our Mission

The Bitter Root Land Trust is a private, non-profit organization that partners with landowners and our community to conserve clean water, wildlife habitat, and working farms and ranches in and around the Bitterroot Valley for present and future generations.

Our Vision

We envision a Bitterroot Valley with abundant, clean water and access for all to our namesake river; thriving working farms and ranches—the lifeblood of our economy; open, scenic vistas; healthy wildlife habitat that supports diverse native and migratory species; strong connections between people and the land that support ecological, economic, and community health for all.

We are committed to ensuring this vision becomes a reality for the communities in and around the Bitterroot Valley.

We are the only land trust focused on conserving the land and water and strengthening the communities of the Bitterroot Valley.

Our History

Founded in 1997 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 founders saw the Bitterroot changing rapidly and vowed to create a proactive, collaborative, community-driven organization capable of protecting the valley’s open spaces, beauty, economic vitality, and quality of life.  The Bitter Root Land Trust fulfills its land conservation mission by assisting private landowners with a variety of voluntary 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 of land.

The Bitter Root Land Trust has a unique place among the  dozen land trusts working in Montana.

The Bitter Root Land Trust is the only land trust focused on the needs and challenges of land conservation here 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.

We live where we work.  We’re members of our community and care.  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.

Meet our Team »

Meet the Board of Directors »