Lewis and Clark County is seeking public comment on a proposal to provide $1,037,000 through the Open Lands bond to assist Prickly Pear Land Trust (PPLT) in securing a conservation easement in the eastern portion of the Helena Valley. The proposed 3,122 acre Potter Ranch Conservation Easement is located adjacent to approximately 7,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management property. The easement would preserve a historic working ranch and protect a highly visible portion of the Helena Valley.
PPLT submitted the Level Two Application in March of 2020. Douglas and Ronda Potter own and farm on the property. If the conservation easement is created, the 3,122 acre property would be restricted, thus preserving the agricultural nature and conservation value of the property. Further development would be greatly reduced. Conservation easements exist in perpetuity; as a result the Potter Ranch would be conserved forever.
PPLT has created video illustrating the project:
The Open Lands Program is funded by a voter-approved $10 million general obligation bond used to protect rivers, streams and groundwater; conserve working farm, ranch and forestlands; protect wildlife areas and preserve open lands and natural areas for recreation and growth management. To date, 13 projects have been approved and funded through this program and about $4 million remain.
The Board of County Commissioners opened public comment on July 2, 2020. Comments will be accepted until August 3, 2020, and should be sent to:
Lewis and Clark County Community Development & Planning Department
316 N. Park Ave., Helena, MT 59602, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org