We are excited to announce that the 2022 Land Access Initiative (LAI) will aid in protecting 150,000 acres of land in northwestern Montana.
This year, we are partnering 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 (recently increased from 114,000). 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.
“Over the course of the past year, the MeatEater Land Access Initiative received close to 500 submissions. TPL's 'Forever Montana' stood out for three reasons,” our own Ryan Callaghan said. “Location, opportunity, and timeline–these 150,000 acres will give access to 300,000 acres. The land is already home to hunting and fishing opportunities along with iconic species like bull trout and grizzly bears, but it's currently threatened by development."
Located between Glacier National Park and the Cabinet Yaak Wilderness, this east-to-west wildlife corridor is critical for many species that call this area home. Not coincidentally, the area boasts incredible elk and deer hunting as well as fishing. It’s also used for other recreational activities like camping, hiking, and horseback riding—it’s a place where humans can experience connectivity with the natural world.
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.
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.
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.