At the close of the 20th Century, FWP Director Pat Graham pointed to the cooperation of Montana's landowners as a key to the state's successful conservation efforts.
"On behalf on the many sportsmen and women who hunt and fish throughout Montana, Fish, Wildlife & Parks would like to say, 'Thank you,' to Montana's farmers and ranchers," Graham said.
Graham said many landowners deserve thanks for maintaining wildlife habitat on their lands and for sharing their lands with recreationists. "Throughout the past 100 years, landowners, sportsmen and women, and FWP have worked together to restore our fish and wildlife to this land and none of us could have done alone what we have been able to accomplish by working together," he said.
This hunting season more than 700 landowners participated in FWP's Block Management Program, which afforded free hunting access to more than 7 million acres of land and accounted for about 250,000 hunting days in Montana. Over the past decade, FWP has entered into agreements with landowners who have placed 500,000 acres of private land under conservation easements to protect critical wildlife habitats. An additional 830 agreements with private landowners have protected 439,000 acres of upland game bird habitat.
"It is true that we often find ourselves faced with challenges that seem to have us at opposite ends of the table," Graham said, "but those of us who love this land know that we share similar values. So, on this eve of our next century of conservation in Montana, we at FWP want to wish Montana landowners a holiday season full of good cheer, and express our enthusiasm for working together to help preserve the land, wildlife, and rich traditions that define Montana as great place to live."