Though there are countless ways to enjoy natural and wild places, the USFS cabin rental program provides a unique experience to convene with some of the most beautiful places throughout our country. Maintained by the USFS, the cabins are available on a first come, first serve basis by booking through the National Recreation Reservation System. Almost every aspect of staying in a USFS cabin or tower requires a bit more work than a typical vacation rental or cabin-getaway. In our experience, the reward is well worth the (mostly enjoyable) work.
At a recent tour of the Hahn Ranch and the greater Deep Creek watershed, ranchers along with folks from Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (MT FWP) as well as Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (MT DNRC) spoke of the various elements that contributed to the successful improvement of Deep Creek, which has been the focus of watershed restoration for over 20 years. One of the specific efforts mentioned was the role of MT FWP in funding the conservation efforts of landowners. MT FWP has a variety of vehicles they utilize to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes including (but not limited to) funding water conservation projects related to water conveyance and irrigation methods, finding alternative / replacement water sources for participating water rights holders, and leasing water rights for in-stream flow.
As the average age of working landowners increases and younger generations increasingly choose jobs and lives in more urban or populated areas, the rural landscape is changing. And just as often as these changes present challenges, they present opportunities. While in Maine this spring, we visited two working farms that have addressed these types of challenges with creativity, making each challenge an opportunity to build community and connection around working lands: Wolfe’s Neck in Freeport and Aldermere Farm in Rockport.
We are endlessly curious about the connection between people and place. Undoubtedly the spaces we inhabit and the natural world that surrounds us shape who we are, how we connect with each other, and how we view our relationship to the plants, animals, water, and landscapes that around us. There are a handful of books that have greatly aided in our practice of broadening our perspectives.
There are a number of tools used across the country to connect people to land, promote ownership and equity, and preserve community values related to land-use. Community land trusts (CLTs) are one of these tools. Community land trusts are nonprofit, community-based organizations that aim to foster community stewardship of land.
Applications are due May 1st for the 2019 Montana State Hemp Program. The Montana Department of Agriculture’s Hemp Pilot Program included 58 hemp growers and included grew 22,000 acres of hemp in 2018, up from 550 acres in 2017. In 2018, Montana grew more hemp in terms of acreage than any other state.
Reducing Conflict with Grizzly Bears, Wolves and Elk, A Western Landowner’s Guide is now available. This informative landowner’s guide produced by Western Landowners Alliance features case studies from ranchers across the west that address the challenge of how to share and manage a wild, working landscape that sustains both people and wildlife.
At the recent Western Landowners Alliance Land & Livelihoods conference in Billings, Montana, Burke Teichert shared his thoughts and insights on what he calls the Systems Approach to land and cattle. The rules of thumb and short lists provided by Teichert distill a complex subject and complicated processes down to tangible action items and measurable indicators of performance. All of Teichert’s tools and rules really speak to the larger topic of profitable decision making.
The Upper Colorado River Commission System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP) will be put on hold after this year. The program has funded 45 fallowing efforts at an average cost of $205 / acre-foot of conserved consumptive use in the first three years. In 2018, ranchers and famers in the upper basin will receive $3.9 million in payments through the program.