Expanding the Reserve

By purchasing a relatively small number of acres from willing sellers in northeastern Montana, we hope to link together the millions of acres of public land already set aside for wildlife and visitor access in the region, thereby creating a seamless landscape reminiscent of that seen by Lewis and Clark.  American Prairie Reserve lands provide valuable habitat for regional wildlife, open corridors for migratory species like the pronghorn antelope and offer the public access to one of the planet’s most unique environments. View the current map.

The landscape of the Reserve, looking west toward the Little Rockies. (Photo: Dennis J. Lingohr)

In building American Prairie Reserve, we hope to secure enough habitat to provide future generations the chance to see and experience the large variety of wildlife native to the region. The potential exists in this landscape for thousands of animals like pronghorn antelope, bison, burrowing owls and others to roam the landscape, allowing modern visitors an opportunity to witness a wildlife spectacle found in few other places on earth.

The Big Picture

A Wealth of Life Rivaling the African Serengeti
More than 200 years ago, Lewis and Clark traveled through the northern Great Plains and witnessed an endless sea of grass abounding with millions of bison, pronghorn, deer and elk. Immense flocks of birds blanketed the open sky. The Great Plains during this time encompassed a wealth of life rivaling that of the African Serengeti. Today, however, much of the prairie and its once-plentiful native plants and animals have disappeared. In fact, less than 1% of native prairie landscapes have any sort of long-term protection.

Watch Video: Click photo to see American Biologist Dr. E.O. Wilson speak about American Prairie Reserve. (Photo: Dave M. Shumway)

Building A Multi-Million Acre Wildlife Reserve
In northeastern Montana, American Prairie Reserve (APR) represents a unique effort to assemble a multi-million acre wildlife park that will conserve the species-rich grasslands of Montana’s legendary Great Plains for the enjoyment of future generations. When complete, American Prairie Reserve will be a natural treasure that spans more than three million acres of private and public land, showcasing a significant portion of the iconic landscape that once dominated central North America.

Land Purchasing
APR expands over time by purchasing private land from willing sellers that can be eventually linked with an existing three million acres of public land in the region. When these fragmented public and private lands are connected, APR will provide a continuous land area with an overall wildlife management focus, the largest of any kind in the continental United States. To learn more about our land purchasing strategy, please visit our FAQs page.

Progress to Date

APR currently owns and/or leases more than 305,000 acres of deeded and public land. Additionally, the ranches APR has purchased have historically held grazing privileges on more than 63,000 acres in the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy is to use various management tools on these Refuge lands, including resting habitat units, to promote healthy plant and wildlife habitat conditions.

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Next Steps

APR will continue to purchase strategic private lands that can be linked to existing public lands in order to provide the best possible habitat for wildlife. We believe that by purchasing private land across a broad area we can reduce habitat fragmentation and enable the area’s wildlife to range unimpeded in a large landscape. This approach is particularly beneficial to animals that undertake far-ranging migrations each year, such as the pronghorn. By placing our deeded lands into conservation easements over time, APR will ensure the protection of this land in perpetuity. Because a key tenet of our mission is public access, the land we own will never be “locked up,” but will remain open for a variety of public uses.