Montana hunters will find more opportunity to pursue elk, mule deer, and other big game and upland birds following the completion this week of two major conservation easements on the east side of the Garnet Mountains.
The state Fish and Wildlife Commission gave final approval to the Graveley Ranch and Warm Springs Creek conservation easements near Garrison. Combined, these projects will permanently protect 8,267 acres of ranchland and open them up to public hunting access.
The projects were put together by the Five Valleys Land Trust and the Montana Department of Justice Natural Resource Damage Program. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks under the easements will permanently handle the public hunting access component. The project did not require any funding from FWP.
The properties are a foothills environment that offers excellent habitat and hunting opportunity for elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, and other game species, as well as mountain grouse.
The Graveley family plans to use the proceeds from the easement on its 5,167 acres to purchase the 3,100 acres Warm Springs Creek property from The Conservation Fund. It will then be protected with a conservation easement.
Hunters will gain a guaranteed minimum of 400 days in the field between the two easements. FWP will manage those through a sign-up system.
The easements are a win for not only hunters but also for the Graveley family and Montana’s agricultural sector by protected these ranch lands. MWF and our conservation partners wrote in favor of the project.
MWF is thankful to have strong conservation partners like the Graveley family who provide private habitat for our public wildlife, and who open up their land to public hunters to enjoy.
Nick Gevock serves as MWF’s conservation director.