Lewis and Clark County approves $1.95M for conservation easement along Missouri River

Jesse Chaney

With help from $1.95 million in open space bond funds unanimously approved by the Lewis and Clark County Commission this week, Prickly Pear Land Trust expects to forever preserve 5 miles of shoreline along an iconic stretch of the Missouri River near Craig.

Prickly Pear Land Trust requested the funds to help secure a conservation easement on the 4,000-acre Canyon Cattle Ranch, which is located along the west bank of the Missouri River from Craig to the Dearborn River. A press release from the land trust says 150,000 anglers float this stretch of what is the second-most popular fishery in Montana each year, and the ranch is home to bighorn sheep, elk, deer, bears and turkeys.

Under the proposed conservation easement, the Juedeman family would maintain ownership of the working ranch but development would be limited to a designated area tucked away from the river where homes already exist. Although the easement would not open up the ranch for public use, PPLT Lands Project Manager Travis Vincent previously told the Independent Record it would enhance the existing public access already available on the Missouri River.

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