Prickly Pear Land Trust works to preserve the rural character of Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, Broadwater and Powell counties, ensuring that open, working lands, wildlife habitat and riparian areas are protected. Having safeguarded more than 4,000 acres since 1996, Prickly Pear Land Trust believes that open space is essential to the well-being of all communities.


Our Role

In the northwest corner of Helena, near the Fort Harrison military base, two parcels totaling 555 acres came on the market. Both properties had been owned by developers, and a large-scale residential development had been planned. The properties feature frontage on Tenmile Creek, the primary water source for the City of Helena, and Sevenmile Creek. Fort Harrison and the Department of Defense identified the properties as top priorities for protection to create a buffer between the military base and residential areas.

Prickly Pear Land Trust began working with county and military officials and other community organizations to purchase the land, its largest project yet. A long-standing partner of The Conservation Fund, the Prickly Pear Land Trust turned to our Land Conservation Loans program for bridge financing to acquire the properties quickly. Additional funding came from the Army Compatible Use Buffer program and Lewis and Clark County.


Why This Project Matters

Conservation of these properties provides opportunities for walking and biking trails, and gives the public access to urban waterways that were previously inaccessible. The opportunity for outdoor recreation would also benefit military personnel and veterans; Spring Meadow Resources, a nonprofit serving those with developmental disabilities; and the Archie Bray Foundation, a nonprofit educational institute for artists.

In a competitive market, real estate deals can happen quickly and many conservation opportunities are lost because funds are not secured in time. Our Land Conservation Loans program can provide immediate assistance, through flexible financing and technical assistance, to help our partners further conservation goals that benefit us all.

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