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Critical open space protected in Madison Valley




Jack Reints, a life-long Madison Valley resident, placed his 120-acre ranch under conservation easement this August with the Montana Land Reliance. This conservation easement is a voluntary, legally binding agreement that will protect the property from development in perpetuity.

The Reints Ranch is a 120-acre contiguous parcel of agricultural land adjacent to Ennis and Jeffers. Both the Madison River and O’Dell Spring Creek flow through the property, and it’s located within 1 mile of six other protected MLR easement properties. The addition of Reints’ ranch to this group contributes to and ensures perpetual habitat connectivity, open space, and agricultural preservation in this area of the Madison Valley.

Jack Reints was born in the 1930s, 1 mile from his current home. He ran a cow-calf operation on his property for decades, and now leases it to fellow community members. This conservation easement protects wetland, riparian, and wildlife habitat in an area facing increasing development pressure. It contributes to the protection of O’Dell Spring Creek, which is surrounded by easements for nearly 13 miles from its headwaters to its confluence with the Madison River.

The Montana Land Reliance first agreed to a bargain purchase easement agreement with Reints in 2012. In addition to Reints’ purchase donation, several organizations and private donors contributed significantly to the project. These organizations include the Madison River Foundation, the Turner Foundation, NorthWestern Energy, Yellowstone Club Community Foundation and Travelers for Open Land.

Several of these organizations have contributed to habitat restoration projects in the O’Dell Spring Creek area and Madison River watershed in recent years. These projects have resulted in the restoration and enhancement of more than 10 miles of stream habitat and 600 acres of wetland habitat.

“The value of these individual and organizational donations [is] key to the success of large-scale land conservation and habitat protection in the Madison Valley. Conservation easements limit development, thereby keeping our rivers and their tributaries filled with abundant, clean and clear waters,” said Jay Erickson, managing director of Montana Land Reliance. “Projects like this truly show what can be done with community partnerships and support.”

The Montana Land Reliance partners with private landowners to protect agricultural heritage, fish and wildlife habitat, and open space. Visit to learn more.

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