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Gallatin County gives Level One Approval for Conservation Easements

Earlier this month, the Gallatin County Commission moved forward with Level One Approval for using public funding to purchase two conservation easements.

The nearly $3 million in Gallatin County Open Land funds will be the first step in purchasing the conservation easements for the MJ Home Place Ranch, which is 864 acres and located 1.5 miles south of Three Forks and the 2,268 acres Kamps Ranches Property located west of the Gallatin River on High Flat Road between Four Corners and Gallatin Gateway.

According to the County, the MJ Home Place Ranch has been in the Lane family for six generations and is currently used to raise Black Angus cattle, hay, and horses.

Commissioner Zach Brown said it was a really positive and fun thing for Gallatin County to approve the funding.

The approved funding by the Commission was $2,182,500 for the Kamps Ranches and $792,475 for MJ Home Place.

Before the vote, Gallatin County Open Lands Coordinator Sean O'Callaghan said both projects received approval from the Gallatin County Open Lands Board. He said if the Commission moves forward with Level One Approval, he will send a letter to the Gallatin Valley Land Trust and Montana Land Reliance outlining the terms, amount of funding, and timeline for Level Two approval.

Commissioner Jennifer Boyer said it is hard to imagine two projects that would be better and loved they are in two different parts of the county, spreading out the value.

"The agricultural and ecological values of both of these are really stellar," said Boyer. "Knowing this was on our agenda today, I was doing chores in the dark this morning...I've only been feeding my livestock twice a day for 24 years, and there are so many families that have been doing that for so much longer than that, for generations and generations. I'm just so thankful that your families have led with your values and commitment to this place and its heritage. The ecology, the important project that is happening on these working lands, I'm just so incredibly grateful."

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