Calling it a “unicorn” and a “tremendous act of generosity,” the Missoula County commissioners last week expressed amazement that a landowner in the Grass Valley area near Frenchtown, west of Missoula, is donating 122 acres of agricultural land to a conservation easement to protect it from development forever.
The three commissioners also unanimously voted to approve spending $34,007 out of the county’s portion of the 2006 Open Space Bond funding to cover the transaction costs for the deal. The nonprofit Five Valleys Land Trust has been working on the project and will hold the conservation easement on the property.
Called the Jette Farm-Grass Valley Open Space Bond Project, the property is located just to the east of Mullan Road, west of the airport and a little ways north of Council Grove State Park.
A 2001 file photo of the Grass Valley area and Mullan Road northwest of Missoula. It was described as a “wildlife supermarket” by So Brown, an avid birder, conservationist and retired fire scientist.
“It meets multiple purposes of the open space bond, including protecting working farms, ranches and forests,