Economic Opportunity

The Big Picture

Reserve Staff install trail signs to enhance public access. (Photo: Betty Holder)

We Believe in Making a Positive Local Impact
At American Prairie Reserve (APR), we believe in making a positive impact on local communities in the six-county region surrounding the Reserve. APR has studied the relative success of wildlife reserves around the world and gathers best practices applicable to our project that can help us to make a positive contribution to surrounding communities.  We have found that similar projects have had an overwhelmingly positive impact on their communities, serving to stimulate and diversify the local economy.

As a neighbor in the region, we hope to encourage mutual economic strength and build strong community relationships. We also believe that a prairie reserve devoted to wildlife will promote positive economic opportunities and will encourage regional collaboration. We recognize that agriculture will remain the dominant industry in the region, but trust that visitors to American Prairie Reserve will stimulate local economic activity when they contract local guides and patronize local establishments. Additional and significant economic opportunities are also born through various Reserve expenditures, as described below.

Progress to Date

Over $24 Million Added to the Area Economy
While APR is in the business of landscape scale conversation, one of our primary goals is to ensure that the land remains productive in a way that clearly contributes measurable and sustainable benefits to the local economy. Because of this, we track the economic impact of Reserve-related activities. Since 2002, APR’s expenditures in the region have totaled $24.2 million, including land purchases, wages paid to local staff, tourism activities, equipment and supply purchases, payments to local contractors, APR-incurred expenses related to tourism and visitation, and real estate taxes.

  • The economic benefits we offer to the region continue to rise each year, with the last two years providing nearly $1.3 million worth of contracting work to build our world class Kestrel Camp; remove or replace more than 28 miles of agricultural fencing and install 22 miles of wildlife friendly bison fencing; and set up additional housing for our staff.
  • We also spent $1.585 million locally over the last two years in Reserve Management expenses such as utilities, supplies, repairs and maintenance, and vehicles and equipment.
  • Another positive impact of our growing Reserve is that the number of staff needed to maintain the properties also grows.  In 2013, we paid wages to 6 Reserve employees who live and spend in the region.
  • As we add property to our Reserve, not only do our management expenses increase, so do our real property taxes.  While we may be eligible for an exemption for a small portion of our property taxes (up to 160 acres), we choose to fully participate and pay all property taxes owed.  In 2013, we paid a total of $48,716 in property tax to Phillips, Blaine and Valley Counties, and we are number 19 of the top 20 taxpayers in Phillips County.

Next Steps

APR will continue to be actively involved in the local community with the goal of contributing to a strong, viable and sustainable quality of life for all residents. We believe it is important to practice good citizenship, and we are dedicated to furthering our outreach efforts and providing economic opportunities through varied and diverse projects tailored to meet the needs of our neighbors.

Visitors to Buffalo Camp, our public campground.

Visitors to Buffalo Camp, our public campground. (Photo: Dennis Lingohr)