HELENA — The Conservation Easement for Canyon Cattle Company was approved by the County Commission on Tuesday morning, June 7th.
The Conservation Easement, which has been 2 years in the making, will now protect a popular stretch of the Missouri River near Craig. Prickly Pear Land Trust (PPLT) worked alongside the Juedeman family to ensure the property will remain a working ranch and won’t be used for development.
“Hopefully 10, 20 more generations of Montanans will be able to enjoy that wonderful view, the vistas, the wildlife, the habitat, the river – forever,” says Mark Juedeman, ranch owner.
The PPLT received an overwhelming amount of support for the project, with nearly 600 people writing in. The PPLT worked with the Juedemans in order to secure funding from the Open Lands Bond Program. The Juedemans will match the funds just about 50/50. They will be receiving $1.95 million from the Bond Program which was voted in by residents in 2008.
With more than 263 cars passing through the area per hour, and 150,000 plus anglers utilizing the river area per year, the family felt motivated to keep this area the same wild place it was when they first moved there.
“We just really wanted to keep it the wild place that it was when we moved to the ranch,” says Juedeman.
In light of a booming state economy and growing population, Travis Vincent, Lands Project Manager of the PPLT, found the chance to protect this stretch of the Missouri River to be a once in a career opportunity.
“...continue to be operated as a ranch, but then provide that public benefit of having no residential development or strip mining or any sort of, you know, things that would be detrimental to the public values of this property,” says Vincent.
With funds running low in the Open Lands Bond program, the commissioners meeting ended with discussion of researching the possibility of yet again inviting voters to decide on a new bond program.