American Prairie Reserve

MONTANA, USA

American Prairie Reserve is spearheading a unique effort to create the largest nature reserve in the continental United States by linking together more than 3.5 million acres of critical habitat. The Reserve has already grown to more than 350,000 acres and is a place for modern day exploration, a living laboratory for students and scientists, and an economic opportunity for rural communities.

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American Prairie Reserve is growing on the legendary Northern Plains of Montana, a pivotal landscape that helped share the development, spirit and ecological diversity of the United States. Scientists have identified this area as one of only four remaining areas in the world that are viable options for landscape-scale grassland conservation. In these rare and special places, it is still possible to re-establish natural wildlife populations and the relationships between species that make an ecosystem whole again.

 

Creating American Prairie Reserve, an innovative, privately funded effort, has been underway since 2001. This visionary plan calls for stitching together 3 million acres of existing public lands using approximately 500,000 acres of private land. When these fragmented public and private lands are connected, the Reserve will provide a continuous land area with an overall wildlife management focus, the largest of any kind in the lower 48 states.

 

At 353,104 acres and growing, the Reserve is quickly becoming a destination where naturalists, history buffs and animal lovers today and in future generations can experience the vast landscape, whether while camping or staying at the world-class, yurt-based Kestrel Camp. In addition, they expect over time that the assembly of American Prairie Reserve will significantly increase regional expenditures on recreation, education and science as well as generate income for neighbours through programs like our wildlife-friendly ranching initiative. By positively impacting local economies, they make the case for conservation.

 

www.americanprairie.org

The 4Cs

American Prairie Reserve joined The Long Run in 2015 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.

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CONSERVATION

American Prairie Reserve’s goal is to assemble a landscape spanning more than 3.5 million acres of public and private land managed for biodiversity conservation. Since its inception in 2001, the Reserve has made significant strides in reaching its conservation goals, including growing the Reserve to more than 350,000 acres. In addition to setting aside important wildlife habitat, American Prairie Reserve works to increase wildlife populations through science and restoration. The Reserve is home to the first bison herd on the landscape in more than 120 years and has grown the herd from 8 animals in 2005 to an estimated 700 animals in 2016. More than 50 miles of fence have been removed to ease wildlife movement and re-open migratory corridors for species like pronghorn.

COMMUNITY

Since 2002, American Prairie Reserve has contributed more than $34 million to the area economy. In addition to land purchases and financing, other major areas of economic contributions are reserve management expenses, local employee wages, local taxes and fees, and visitation and tourism expenses. A positive consequence of the growing Reserve is that the number of staff needed to maintain the properties also grows. In 2015, American Prairie Reserve paid wages to 27 permanent and seasonal employees that lived and worked on the Reserve.

CULTURE

The Reserve area formed an integral part of the culture and spirituality of several Native American tribes, and later witnessed the Lewis and Clark expedition and westward travels of American settlers and homesteaders. American Prairie Reserve incorporates compelling stories about Native Americans, early explorers, and early settlers into the visitor experience through interpretation, exhibits, and visits to historic points of interest. Working with local elders, our campground welcome signs feature greetings in the languages of the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine, honouring two of the local tribes that lived and hunted in the region for thousands of years and continue to do so today.

COMMERCE

American Prairie Reserve is a financially stable and growing nonprofit with donors in 12 countries and a sister organisation in Germany called “Friends of the American Serengeti.” The Reserve employ 30 full-time employees, including seven employees and their families that live and work on the Reserve year-round. In addition to contributing to local economies through wages and spending on Reserve management supplies, American Prairie Reserve also pays all property taxes and is one of the top taxpayers in the region. The economic benefits offered to the region continue to rise each year.

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