Once unthinkable, zoning is now being considered by Montana counties to prevent subdividing open space and ranch land.
Zoning may be the only way to save Montana farm and ranch lands from developers. Many are leaning towards zoning as the answer, but rich investors are staying a step ahead of developers by buying conservation easements.
"Americans are moving to out-of-the-way communities to live amid some of the nation's wildest landscapes. Meanwhile, state and local governments and nonprofit conservation groups have been funding open-space programs to protect vital tracts against development. And wealthy private citizens have taken steps to preserve land. In Gallatin County, for instance, media baron Ted Turner bought the Flying D Ranch and preserved it by donating conservation easements. But there's not enough money or private donations to keep piecemeal development from fragmenting fertile valleys and upland grasslands that wildlife relies on for winter range and passage."
Thanks to Jon Cecil, AICP