Montana Legacy

The Montana Legacy Project

The Trust for Public Land has a long history of working with the people of the Swan Valley, a tapestry of close-knit communities, working forests, and natural lands within the Crown of the Continent—one of the last places on earth where not a single plant or animal has gone extinct in the last two centuries.

Inspired by the community’s deep love of this land, and wanting to keep it open and free for them, and visitors to explore and experience, The Trust for Public Land embarked on an unprecedented partnership between private and public entities to conserve 310,000 acres of western Montana forest land owned by Plum Creek Timber—possibly the largest and most complicated conservation project in U.S. history.

The Montana Legacy Project seized the opportunity to erase a fractured pattern of ownership which intermingled private and public lands in a checkerboard pattern, allowing the land to be managed more effectively for the benefit of people, wildlife, water and working lands.

As part of a continuing commitment to The Montana Legacy, The Trust for Public Land is embarking on our first-ever stream restoration project, in partnership with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, on the highest priority streams in the Swan River State Forest. We just received our first grant through Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' Future Fisheries program to restore a bridge on South Woodward Creek which will clear sediment from the creek keeping this clear, cold mountain stream perfect for bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.

Explore our work

Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects. You’ll find some of our favorite places on the map below.