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Why create American Prairie?


American Prairie represents a unique effort to assemble a multi-million-acre nature reserve that conserves the species-rich grasslands of Montana’s legendary Great Plains for the enjoyment of future generations. When complete, American Prairie will span more than three million acres of private and public land, showcasing the iconic landscape that once dominated central North America and helped shape our national character.


  • Grasslands are losing. Temperate grasslands are the least protected biome on Earth, with only four places left in the world – including the prairies of Montana – that are viable options for landscape-scale conservation.
  • A new approach is necessary.  Unlike early park-building efforts that relied on the federal government, American Prairie uses a public-private partnership model that stitches together fragmented public lands through the purchase of private lands all thanks to donors from all walks of life.


  • Wildlife needs more room. Biologists determined that a prairie would need to be about 5,000 square miles, roughly 3.2 million acres, in size in order to be a fully functioning ecosystem, complete with migration corridors and all native wildlife.
  • We need to stretch our legs and minds. Actively spending time in nature is good for our bodies, brains, and emotional well being, and the public should be able to enjoy the land with ease and without fences or “No Trespassing” signs.


  • Biodiversity builds resiliency. Research has shown that areas with high amounts of native biodiversity, including plants, insects, and animals, are more likely to endure the harsh conditions of climate change.
  • Our natural heritage shapes who we are. By preserving this iconic landscape, future generations will have lasting access to the wildlife and wonder that helped shape the indomitable American Spirit.