The Flint Creek Valley is corridor of rich, sweeping grasslands, rugged hills and verdant conifer forests. In the heart of this beautiful valley lies the Buxbaum Ranch. In May, Five Valleys was pleased to complete the Buxbaum-Boulder Creek project with landowners Linda and Doug Buxbaum, which protected over 1,100 acres of this captivating landscape.
The Buxbaum Ranch is located in the Flint Creek Range, just to the east of Maxville. The land is as diverse as it is productive. Boulder creek winds along the property’s western boundary. Near Highway 1, in the ranch’s lowlands, lie over 120 acres of Prime and Important Soils, as designated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Higher up into the Flint Creek Range, woody draws and grassland hills provide forage ground for the Buxbaum’s cattle, and habitat for elk, mountain lions, various small mammals and birds, including several Montana Species of Concern, such as the Northern Goshawk, Evening Grosbeak, Pileated Woodpecker, Cassin’s Finch, and Clark’s Nutcracker. Tucked in around these woody draws lies several spring-fed ponds and wetlands, a habitat rarity and a feature of special ecological importance.
In addition to protecting the land’s habitat and agricultural values, the Buxbaum-Boulder Creek project also provides a new public hunting access, and through this hunting access, access to the adjacent public lands beyond. This access will be managed by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, through their Block Management program.
The project was made possible through funding from the NRCS Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) program, the State of Montana Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP), The Cinnabar Foundation, the Heart of the Rockies Initiative, and donations from the landowners. Over the last few years, Five Valleys has secured nearly $2.1M in ALE program funding, and nearly $4M in NRDP funding to support our work in this region.
Thanks to the Buxbaums and the project’s many funding partners, this part of the Flint Creek Valley will remain intact for wildlife, available for agricultural use, and accessible to future Montanans, in perpetuity.
Header photo by Five Valleys staff