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"We had outstanding grant applications that truly demonstrate the quality and diversity of land trust conservation projects across the state,” said Mike Scholz, owner of Buck’s T-4 Lodge and founder of the Travelers program. “Funds donated by Montana travelers and others are protecting the reasons we live here and why most people travel to Montana – to experience the open lands, view wildlife and recreate on private and public lands."

"These grant awards are impressive accomplishments, considering we’re talking about a new program that was created in a down economy and depends on small donations,” said Stuart Doggett, executive director of the Montana Innkeepers Association. “Travelers has a ways to go to reach its potential, but the grants are proof the program’s off to a great start.”

“The grants demonstrate the potential importance of the Travelers program, and also highlight the need for increased donations through the program,” said Kris Hauck, owner of the El Western Cabins & Lodges in Ennis. “People come to Montana and come to Ennis to enjoy the open lands, and it’s the open lands that will keep bringing people back. Travelers for Open Land is good for the landscape and it’s also good for business.

“The great thing about Travelers for Open Land is that it gives people an opportunity to help protect what makes Montana such a great place to live in and visit,” said Scholz. “It’s the only statewide program of its type in the nation, it’s completely voluntary and the donations can add up to have a tremendously positive impact.”

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2013 Projects We Funded

Travelers for Open Land Awards $33,000 in Grant Funds To Five Land Trusts in Missoula, Helena, Bozeman and Kalispell

Travelers for Open Land, a collaborative program that allows Montana visitors and residents to make voluntary contributions to conserve open land, last week awarded $33,000 to fund five Montana private land conservation projects.

Travelers for Open Land was launched in 2009 and since then has awarded $181,365 to help fund 25 land conservation projects throughout Montana. Among TFOL supporters are the Montana Lodging and Hospitality Association, Montana Association of Land Trusts, Montana Community Foundation, the Montana Office of Tourism, other tourist-related and outdoor recreation businesses and the traveling public.

“This year’s applicants represented a broad variety of quality conservation projects, and we were glad we were able to fund all five,” said Mike Scholz, founder of Travelers for Open Land, former owner of Buck’s T-4 Lodge and a hospitality industry leader. “Montana is one of the premier outdoor recreation locations in the world. Travelers value Montana’s having the most ‘spectacular unspoiled nature’ in the lower 48 states and want to help conserve these lands into the future. TFOL was created to give them the opportunity to do that.”

Here is a brief summary of the five projects approved for funding by the Travelers for Open Land Advisory Committee:

Montana Land Reliance of Helena will receive $8,000 to help fund a 3,270-acre conservation easement project in Pondera County. The project conserves agricultural land and bird habitat and expands the geographic reach of Travelers for Open Land projects into a new area of Montana.

Five Valleys Land Trust in Missoula will receive $5,000 to help fund a 121-acre conservation easement in Missoula County. The property includes soils designated as important statewide by the National Resource Conservation Service, wildlife habitat, and will help facilitate another 117-acre conservation easement in the same area with The Nature Conservancy.

Gallatin Valley Land Trust in Bozeman will receive $5,000 to help fund a 194-acre conservation easement on the Madison River near Headwaters State Park within a popular outdoor recreation corridor. The parcel includes pasture, wetlands and river bottomlands in an area that is highly threatened by development


Flathead Land Trust in Kalispell will receive $5,000 to help fund a conservation easement on Smith Lake. This parcel is part of a 1,600-acre block of wetlands and hay production land that is used by tens of thousands of migratory birds.

Vital Ground in Missoula will receive a $10,000 grant to help fund five conservation easements totaling 276 acres in the Swan Valley. This project will help protect and restore North America’s grizzly bear populations as well as native plant communities, water quality, and working landscapes.