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Building the Reserve

The innovative model for building American Prairie Reserve calls for stitching together three million acres of existing public lands using private lands purchased from willing sellers. 

When these fragmented public and private lands are connected, the Reserve will provide a continuous land area collaboratively managed for wildlife and recreation, the largest of its kind in the Lower 48 states. 

Since 2004, American Prairie Reserve has completed 25 transactions to build our habitat base of 353,104 acres.

Of this total:

  • 86,586 acres are private lands owned by the Reserve
  • 266,518 acres are public lands (federal and state) leased by the Reserve

Get answers to frequently asked questions about building the reserve, including how we buy land, why we work in Montana, and our future plans for management. 


Current Extent of American Prairie Reserve:

View a full-screen interactive map.


Impact on Leases in the C.M.R. National Wildlife Refuge

American Prairie Reserve’s acquisitions have also resulted in the retirement of 63,777 acres of cattle grazing leases in the neighboring Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Some ranches purchased by the Reserve historically held grazing privileges on the refuge that do not transfer to new owners, meaning that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can now restore the habitat primarily for wildlife use.