Loving this place means protecting this place.

Photo by Mark Mesenko

Land Acknowledgement

Five Valleys Land Trust acknowledges that we are in the homelands of the Séliš (Salish) and Ql̓ispé (Kalispel) people. Today, we offer our respect for their history and culture, for their ancient and continuing presence in this landscape, and for the path they have shown us in caring for this place for the generations to come.

About Five Valleys

With our rich tradition of public lands, it’s easy to assume that the government is responsible for all the open space, trails, parks, and other outdoor amenities we enjoy in and around our community. But these things often take the hard work, generosity, and dedication of private citizens. That certainly has been the case in western Montana.

Mount Jumbo.  Photo by Nelson Kenter
Missoula residents along the Clark Fork River, circa 1970.

As early as 1971 our founders were increasingly nervous about the pace of residential and commercial development in and around the community. They wondered what might happen to the open lands, rivers, and streams that made living here so special. In 1972, they formed the Five Valleys River Park Association and got to work creating the riverfront park system that is now so important to life in Missoula.

After acquiring and creating parklands along the Clark Fork and Bitterroot Rivers, they promoted the passage of Montana’s first public open space bond in 1980. Before the end of that decade the River Park Association became Five Valleys Land Trust.

We’ve expanded much since then with an amazing network of board, staff, volunteers, supporters, and partners who have contributed to an impressive list of projects and accomplishments. We’ve conserved over 100,000 acres across western Montana, and we’re just getting started.

Meet the teamGet involvedExplore Our History

What We Do

Our mission is to protect for future generations western Montana’s natural legacy – our river corridors, wildlife habitat, agricultural lands, and community open spaces.

The Five Valleys we serve are the Bitterroot, the Blackfoot, the upper Clark Fork, the lower Clark Fork, and the Mission-Jocko.

We believe that the character of these valleys, and the thriving communities in them, is rooted in the clean rivers, open lands, and abundant wildlife that surround them. We work with communities, private landowners, governments, and other partners to protect these natural treasures for the benefit of this and future generations.

public lands

They belong to you, they belong to us all. We work hard not just to establish public lands, but to elevate our quality of life here by keeping all members of our community connected to the land, to nature, and to each other.

We played a key role in the City of Missoula’s acquisition of its two most significant landmarks—Mount Jumbo and Mount Sentinel— and we continue to do this kind of work. Other public lands successes include Marshall Mountain, the Mount Dean Stone Preserve, Alberton Gorge, the Rattlesnake Greenway, the Route of the Olympian Trail, several wildlife management areas, Kelly Island, Jacobs Island, and more.

See more Public projects

Lands We Own

In 2012, Five Valleys purchased the 300-acre Rock Creek Confluence property near Clinton and ushered in a new era: owning land, for the long term. Through owning land outright, Five Valleys has expanded the bounds of how we can serve our community: fostering partnerships, facilitating research and kids' programs, and connecting people to the land.

Today, Five Valleys owns and manages the Rock Creek Confluence, Lincoln Community River Park, and the Mount Dean Stone Community Forest for public access, wildlife habitat, and scenic open space.

Explore Five Valleys' Properties

Conservation Easements

Sometimes, land that isn’t public is still in the public interest—a centuries-old family farm, a working ranch that includes important wetlands, or a swath of undeveloped forest that provides vital migratory routes to area wildlife. We work with landowners who would like to preserve the value they derive from the land while also honoring its value to the community. We do this through arrangements called conservation easements. The role of Five Valleys Land Trust is to ensure that the shared values of the landowner and the public are meaningful and honored over time.

Learn More About Easements

We’re not a government agency but a private, nonprofit corporation that depends on the support of generous donors, landowners, and volunteers to do our work.

Ready to get involved? We’d love to have you on board.


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