Neighborhood NewsHelena - Lewis and Clark County


Prickly Pear Land Trust acquires 1,500 acres in Birdseye area

birdseye ranch pplt
Posted at 11:01 PM, Jul 02, 2024

HELENA — Prickly Pear Land Trust has officially acquired nearly 1,500 acres in the Birdseye area.

After receiving funds from Lewis & Clark County, PPLT acquired the nearly 1,500 acres, known as Birdseye Ranch. Funds for the project come from the county, the Department of Defense, and the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

“I think that land protection is one of the most important things that we can do as Montanans to preserve our way of life and our quality of life in this state,” says Mary Hollow, director of PPLT.

Mary Hollow
Mary Hollow

Adjacent to Fort Harrison, this land acquisition serves a two-fold purpose. It helps in land conservation.

It also leaves the fort’s training activities uninterrupted, said Colonel Kelly Traynham, Construction and Facilities Management Officer for the Montana Army National Guard, on a tour of the ranch last time we covered the efforts to acquire the land.

“More houses, more neighbors could restrict on what we could do, how we can train, and maybe possibly even hours we could train. So, this, by having this in open space, allows us to continue our 24/7 training mission that we have,” said Traynham.

Hollow says that next steps include creating a management plan. Within that plan, they will continue to allow grazing of the land which helps serve conservation efforts. They also plan to allow for public access to the adjacent thousands of acres of public lands.

“Prickly Pear will work to develop a management plan that will help us figure out what is appropriate for public access. Definitely that'll be something seasonal, but at the very least we'll figure out the management plan for the access and then the priority for this project, of course, is the continuation of grazing and ranching on the property as well as, obviously, keeping that land intact for the wildlife qualities that Birdseye has,” says Hollow.