History of Conservation
Montanans, particularly landowners and sportsmen, have made huge investments in conservation on the Front, stretching back nearly a century. Beginning with the designation of the state’s first wildlife preserve in 1913, this legacy of conservation has passed from generation to generation. Today, voluntary conservation easements cover 100,000 acres of private lands. In 2006, the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front and many other Montanans successfully worked with their Senators to pass legislation halting new federal oil and gas leasing on the Front. This home-grown solution allows existing leases to be retired after they are voluntarily donated or sold, ensuring that critical wildlife habitat and public access are protected for future generations to enjoy.
Regardless of the success, there is still much work to be done in order to keep the front the way it is. Today one of the region’s most sensitive areas is the foreland connecting the Wilderness to the west with the public and private winter range to the east. This narrow band of public land comprises a fragile and irreplaceable link between the lowlands and the mountains.