by Whitney Schwab, Executive Director
2024 is off to a bright start here at Five Valleys Land Trust.
We’re heading into the year having protected over 100,000 acres to date. It’s a milestone that represents five decades of effort, vision, and hundreds of partnerships. While all those zeros are exciting, Five Valleys can’t, and won’t, rest on our laurels.
In addition to the updates in the following pages, we’re gearing up for big efforts. We currently have conservation easement projects underway to protect 11,200+ acres throughout western Montana and are following up on an additional 17,000+ acres of project inquiries. Land protection has never been more urgent, and Five Valleys will keep responding to this need. Enough cannot be said about the landowners who reach out to us to explore conserving their property to protect our Montana way of life. Much like Donna Rae Thompson’s recent effort to protect the Jette Farm, landowners’ decisions today benefit all of us in perpetuity. Their generosity is incredible.
In December, the Missoula County Commissioners voted to acquire the 460-acre Marshall Mountain Park, including 160 acres that Five Valleys has owned and stewarded since 2015. Through generous partnerships with The Nature Conservancy, Izzy Dog LLC, The Conservation Fund, and Friends of Marshall Mountain, as well organizations like Mountain Bike Missoula and the broader community, Marshall Mountain will become public. We look forward to celebrating this momentous event and supporting the County and the City of Missoula’s joint stewardship of this beloved community landscape.
All of these efforts require a long-term vision and patience. We are thriving and ready to build upon our efforts to protect and steward western Montana’s landscapes and communities. Over the coming year we will update our Strategic Business Plan to chart our course for the next 5-10 years of conservation and stewardship work. Stay tuned for more on this effort—we will invite you to get involved.
Five Valleys is ready for the work that lies ahead thanks to each of you. Your dedicated support, whether it’s through providing expertise, volunteering, or making a financial donation, is what has helped our community thrive for the last 52 years. Let’s keep it going!
Read about our newest conservation easement that protects 133 acres of productive agricultural land and wildlife habitat near the Clark Fork River.
Our Montana Forever Campaign is helping to accelerate the pace of conservation across western Montana. See how your trust and investment is being put to work!
Five Valleys recently launched a visionary campaign that is working to create a community open space that is welcoming and accessible to all.
Last summer, Five Valleys embarked upon a new era when we purchased 2,470 acres and celebrated the creation of the Mount Dean Stone Community Forest, the first community forest in the Missoula Valley.
Did you know that including Five Valleys in your will is one of the easiest ways to support conservation of the lands you love? Learn about smart ways to save on your taxes while you help save the lands you love.
Header photo of the Jette Farm conservation easement project by Five Valleys staff
Whitney Schwab photo by Erin Kay Photography