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Lavina, Montana

160 Acres | April 12, 2012
Conservation Easement

Wildlife in the foothills of Montana’s Bull Mountains has a newly protected safe haven. Through a conservation easement, signed by the landowners and accepted by the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, the Musselshell River Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is permanently protected from development and destructive logging practices. As with all HSWLT-protected properties, commercial and recreational hunting and trapping are also permanently prohibited.

The landowners, who wish to remain anonymous, say that HSWLT "took our postage stamp and made it into a dream."

This 160-acre property is a beautiful combination of natural, untouched Montana grassland with sandstone rims, meadows and ponderosa pine forest, with the tallest trees towering over 50 feet in height. Mature junipers, reaching 10 to 15 feet, share the understory with numerous young ponderosa pines. The variations in the landscape and plant life provide ideal habitat for a range of wildlife.

"Space is one thing that’s in short supply in a lot of places," says one of the landowners. "One thing we have plenty of is houses and cars. I’m looking at a bunch of them right now."

Wildlife known to populate the property include both mule and white-tailed deer, elk, bobcats, rabbits, porcupines, and coyotes. Many types of birds nest here, including wild turkeys and raptors, and even more pass through during migration seasons.

Although this sanctuary remains privately owned, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust has an obligation to perform periodic inspections to ensure that the wildlife habitat remains in good condition and that the terms of the conservation easements are being met. These inspections, and the handling of any destruction or violations, cost heavily in professional staff time, consultants, and travel expenses. In addition HSWLT needs a reserve of funds for the substantial legal fees needed if enforcement of violations involves court action.

HSWLT has promised to protect this property as sanctuary forever -- and that promise will be kept. If you can help with the cost of stewardship for this and the other properties HSWLT protects, please donate here.

Owls Close-up

You can help owls by preserving their habitats and using organic methods rather than chemicals to eliminate agricultural pests.


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