Landowner Testimonials

Art Greydanus

Art Greydanus, Westerman Creek

Former Conservation Project Manager Chris Fagan spoke with Art Greydanus in the spring of 2008 about his life and love of the land. Greydanus placed a conservation easement on his property in 2007. 

If you’re ever driving west along Lolo Creek on U.S. Highway 12 and you find yourself looking out across an open pasture near Westerman Creek, you might catch a glimpse of Art Greydanus feeding his horses, fixing his fences, or working on some irrigation pipes out in his fields. Art is a semi-retired rancher and a longtime resident of the Lolo Creek area who has seen a lot of change in his neighborhood over the last forty years or so. Art was born and raised in the Gallatin Valley and grew up working on his parents’ ranch in Manhattan, Montana. Except for a brief time during World War II when he left Montana to fix planes at the U.S. Naval Airbase in Seattle, Art has spent his entire life working outside with cows and land and fences and timber. More >>

Jim Auger, Post Creek in Mission Valley,
2006 Easement Donor

I first experienced the beauty of Montana when I was 8 or 9 years old. Born and raised on a wonderful lake in Minnesota, I thought there was no place that could top the grandeur of my home state. That was until my family spent the first of many summers at Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork. For two weeks every summer I was able to revel in the beauty and magic of Montana.

It still takes my breath away as it did the very first time that we crested the top of the hill on Highway 93 near the National Bison Range. I knew at that moment this was a special place, an unspoiled part of the wilderness Montana had to offer. My passion for this area compelled me to return here to attend college at The University of Montana. After graduation, I followed a job out of Montana and was successful at climbing the corporate ladder, but I knew there was something missing. More >>

Kasja McGeorge, Upper Willow Creek,
2006 Easement Donor

In late September of 2006, Gene and Kasja McGeorge and their sons, Gavin and Nils, signed a conservation easement to protect their beautiful property on Upper Willow Creek. Here, Kasja McGeorge writes about the land and why the family made this generous decision.

I’m the one elected to write something about our new conservation easement with Five Valleys Land Trust because my husband Gene is busy weather-proofing the windows for winter. No matter, we agree on what I have to tell you. More >>

Photo: Michael Gallacher

Louise Dean, Lincoln Valley

We sat with Louise Dean on the deck outside her home a few miles north of Lincoln. It was a fine May morning. Snow sparkled on the shoulders and summit of Stonewall Mountain. Sandhill cranes warbled from the wetlands around Liverpool Creek where it empties into the broad Lincoln valley on her 160-acre acre ranch.

Widowed during WWII, Louise came to the upper Blackfoot with an infant son to start a new life. Now in her nineties, she has been living on, and making a living from this ranch for the last sixty years. In September 29, 2000 Louise decided to protect the many natural values of the ranch by donating a conservation easement to FVLT. More >>

The Jill Perelman Family, Blackfoot Valley,
2000 Easement Donor 

The Perelman family completed the donation of a 680-acre conservation easement on their Blackfoot Valley property in late 2000.  They placed an easement on an additional 77 acres in 2003.  FVLT and other partners have been actively working on a stream restoration project on the property.

The land our family recently acquired is a mix of forested slope, wetland meadow, creekside riparian zones, native range and hay field. It lies in the shadow of peaks along the southern edge of the Scapegoat Wilderness with national forest, private timber, and ranch land as neighbors. More >>

Clark Ranch, Rock Creek, 

Barbara and her husband Larry are fifth and sixth generation ranchers who have lived in Rock Creek for over 40 years. They have two grown children who help on the ranch.

Ranching is steeped into our souls. You cannot plow a field, pick rock by hand, plant that field, irrigate it, watch the hay grow, hay it, get ready to defend it from wildfire, watch the calves you calved graze it and not feel it is a part of you. A part of you just as real as your arm and leg. More >>

By Brandon Bert, Rattlesnake Valley,

I currently live in California, but grew up in Missoula.  I knew I always wanted to come back someday, own land and a place of my own.  However, I didn’t think the opportunity would come so quickly.  About eight months ago, my father Steve, found an incredible piece of property in the Upper Rattlesnake.   After a tour of the redwood cabin and long walk around the property, we both knew this was home. More >>

Celestine Duncan, Upper Willow Creek,
2003 Easement Donor

Cary and Celestine Duncan donated a conservation easement on 173 acres along Upper Willow Creek in December 2003.

My husband Cary and I are both private pilots who have for many years taken great pleasure in experiencing our magnificent Montana landscape from the air. When the time came to find a place that could serve as a getaway from our busy lives in Helena, it was logical to start our search from the air. A little valley, tucked in between Rock Creek and Flint Creek had caught our attention many times as we flew over it, headed for the Big Hole or the Bitterroot country, so we decided to look into it. More >>

Fast Facts

A cutthroat trout that was marked in the Clark Fork River near Milltown was spotted all the way up the Blackfoot. >>

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