why private lands?


Private lands are the essential pieces that bind the greater landscape together.

Private lands are the foundation of strong, rural communities, where family farms and ranches are the lifeblood. When these ranches are stronger, local communities and landscapes are all stronger. Private lands tend to be lower in elevation and higher in productivity, with the best soils and water, and to be near riparian habitats, with the highest biodiversity. These areas are often the “link” between blocks of habitat, such as national forest, wilderness or roadless areas.

The Heart of the Rockies Initiative brings local wisdom, global perspective and the latest science together to conserve the most valuable private land habitat, at a scale that conserves ecosystems, protects our agricultural heritage, and helps North America adapt to climate change. 

Our initiative is unique in the conservation arena in that we partner with and support 27 land trusts in the northern Rockies that work every day on land conservation for both agricultural families and fish and wildlife.  

Our work is grounded in the knowledge and experience of our partners, the best available science, and a deep trust in collaboration as a tool to create effective conservation practices.


why heart of the rockies?

why now?

The Rocky Mountain west is changing rapidly. Climate change is affecting every facet of our lands and waters, from ecology to policy. Many wildlife species are forced to move from traditional ranges to adapt to changing temperatures and habitats.  Protecting spaces for these types of seasonal migratory movements has never been more important.  That’s why our Initiative with the support of generous philanthropic partners  aims to “Keep it Connected” in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.   You too can help keep important fish and wildlife habitats connected by supporting your local land trust or joining our team of philanthropic partners.       

The threat of residential subdivision in the west has never been greater.  Post pandemic human migrations to rural western states has accelerated habitat loss at an alarming rate.  Our initiative works to prevent the permanent footprint of residential developments on both important agricultural lands and critical fish and wildlife habitats.  Please join us as we look for permanent solutions to maintain working ranches and protect valuable wildlife habitat.  Time is not on our side.