Rocky Mountain Front
Rocky Mountain Front. Photo by Todd Kaplan/www.toddkaplanphotographics.com.
At A Glance
- Development for recreational property and vacation homes threatens the Rocky Mountain Front.
- We're part of a partnership that launched an unprecedented effort to protect 250,000 acres of wildlife habitat along the Rocky Mountain Front.
- The Rocky Mountain Front is home to one of the last healthy grizzly populations in the lower 48 states and the last plains grizzlies in the world.
- The goal is to protect this wildlife habitat while maintaining the region’s traditional ranching heritage.
- We work with ranching families on land preservation agreements that allow them to continue ranching while protecting the land for wildlife habitat.
Where Montana’s dramatic peaks give way to the Northern Great Plains, the Rocky Mountain Front forms a landscape unlike any other in America. The Front represents some of the nation’s rarest wildlife habitat—where grizzly bears still roam freely from the mountains to the plains, as they have for centuries.
Increased demand for recreational property and vacation homes threatens this natural area. More than three million acres have been subdivided over the past 15 years.
The Conservation Fund—in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state of Montana and with key funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation—launched an unprecedented effort to protect 250,000 acres of wildlife habitat along the Rocky Mountain Front. The goal is to protect this wildlife habitat while maintaining the region’s traditional ranching heritage.
Preserving Traditional Ranching Heritage
For generations, family ranchers have owned large swaths of the land in this region. But as financially strapped ranchers sell off their land for development, this landscape gets fragmented with new roads and home development. Not only does this development erode the ranching tradition that characterizes the region, it also disrupts wildlife migration routes and cuts off access to breeding grounds, food and safe wilderness for dozens of species such as grizzly bears, elk and nesting birds like the long-billed curlew.
We work with ranching families to place conservation easements on their properties. Rather than selling the land to be developed into subdivisions, conservation easements allow them to continue ranching while protecting the land for wildlife habitat.
To date, our Rocky Mountain Front Initiative has protected 100,000 acres of critical migratory corridors for grizzly bears and a wide variety of other species that depend on the Front’s rich ecosystem.