The MeatEater Land Access Initiative

Latest Updates

This project is active — donate here.

We are excited to announce that the 2023 Land Access Initiative (LAI) will aid in the acquisition of "Wildcat North". Wildcat Bend North is a 328-acre property consisting of high-quality riparian habitat that provides for a diverse array of huntable and non-huntable species.

"I was initially hesitant to focus on another Montana project, but once I got a look at the map and the overall vision, it became clear we had to make this one happen," MeatEater’s Director of Conservation, Ryan Callaghan, said. "River frontage is at a premium anywhere in the country and having the opportunity to conserve a piece in Montana is increasingly rare. The lower Yellowstone also offers a huge amount of biodiversity: you could set a trotline for catfish, walleye, and sturgeon, walk for pheasants, and bag a hell of a whitetail buck while listening to turkeys gobble in one afternoon. I honestly want to build the landowner a statue."

Wildcat Bend was initially identified by the members of Governor Gianforte's "Lower Yellowstone River Corridor Advisory Committee" and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Region 7 access professionals. This year, we are partnering with Pheasants Forever, specifically the Build A Wildlife Area® (BAWA) Program for the fee-title acquisition of the Wildcat-North property. This project will secure public "walk-in" and "boat-in" access to the property for anglers, floaters, hunters, hikers, and wildlife viewing opportunities along two miles of the Yellowstone River shoreline.

"This project represents a very unique opportunity for Pheasants Forever, Montana FWP, and our valued partners to permanently protect riparian habitat and increase public access along one of Montana’s premier river systems," Montana and Wyoming Coordinator for Pheasants Forever, Hunter VanDonsel, said. "The time is right to acquire these parcels and create a large-scale complex of publicly accessible lands that can be enjoyed by future generations. There is overwhelming support for this strategic land acquisition project among partner organizations, hunters, anglers, and the public."

Click here to learn more.

LAI 2022 Updates

In 2022, we partnered with Trust for Public Land to support the Montana Great Outdoors Project via their Forever Montana fundraising campaign. This project is the centerpiece of a conservation effort to protect over 150,000 acres of critical forestlands. It ties together 300,000 acres of previously conserved lands and increases access to existing public lands in the area. These easements will prevent development, and ensure continued access to hunting and fishing in perpetuity while maintaining traditional timber management.

Through fundraising and direct MeatEater donations, the Land Access Initiative was able to contribute $200,000.00 dollars in 2022. The Forever Montana Project is still active and will be seeking final approval of the conservation easements from the Montana State land board by year-end 2023.

Click here to learn more.

Our First Completed Project: Shiloh Pond

In 2020, we chose our first project and it was a great one. A 215 acre parcel of land in Kingfield Township, Maine called Shiloh Pond. The 215 mostly forested acres include 68.2 acres of wetlands, a 1.98 acre small pond, and the namesake 20-acre Shiloh Pond.

To help raise the rest of the funds required to put this property permanently in the hands of the public, we auctioned off some great stuff, including the Alumacraft from Das Boat season one, a Steven Rinella left-handed rifle, and gear from Jani and Cal.The auction was a great success and the proceeds helped get the project over the finish line. Shiloh Pond is now open to the public forever.

Click here to learn more.

About The Land Access Initiative

Have you ever woken up on a crisp October morning and thought to yourself, "There are just too damn many places where I can hunt and fish"?

Yeah, we haven’t either. Many folks are lucky to have their one good spot, and lucky to not see five other vehicles parked there every time. Wouldn't it be nice if there were more miles of river to walk, more entry points into National Forests, more kayak spots, more CRP fields to push? There are about 15 million acres of landlocked public land in the United States, places we all own but can't get to. There are thousands of miles of streams we can't access or can't legally wade. We think it should be better, and we think it can be better.

We’re actively searching for ways to increase public access, and we need your help to pull it off. There is no situation too small or too big, and no area too urban or too rural. Steven Rinella says, “This will be a win for every hunter, angler, and lover of wild places. Across the country, more spots will be available for you to get out in the woods and do what you love.”

So, do you know of a fishing access that needs improvement? Do you know of a gated road leading to some BLM ground that needs to be unlocked? Is a local property begging for an easement to let hunters pass through? From boat ramps to campsites, and trailheads to subdivision footpaths, we want to improve outdoor recreation for everyone. As long as the project provides more access, we'll consider it for our initiative.

How To Get Involved

Let us know about the land and water access needs in your area. Fill out this short questionnaire to give us more details on your public access idea. It only takes a few minutes and it's completely confidential.

We're always open to accept donations to the Land Access Initiative in the MeatEater Store. This is a great way to contribute to the mission.