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The Madison Valley Ranchlands Group

The Madison Valley Ranchlands Group

(p.223) Spotlight 11.1 The Madison Valley Ranchlands Group
Stitching the West Back Together
Thomas E. Sheridan
University of Chicago Press

The mostly privately held, 925,000-acre Madison Valley is located just northwest of Yellowstone National Park in southern Montana. In 1996, area ranchers concerned about rising land prices, stagnant cattle prices, predator animal and invasive plant species concerns, and pressure from environmental interests to end grazing on public lands formed the non-profit Madison Valley Ranchlands Group. By collaborating with government agencies, hunters, absentee ranch owners, and environmental groups, the organization has tackled these issues through educational workshops, range protection programs, and other multi-stakeholder dialogues and activities. Among its successes, about 36 percent of the valley’s private lands are now protected in conservation easements, Madison County has adopted a growth-policy action plan, and significant efforts are underway to control noxious invasive weeds.

Keywords:   Madison Valley Ranchlands Group, noxious weed control, range protection, conservation easements, non-profit conservation organization

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