The Future of
Working Lands & Wildlife

Whitney Tilt is working with the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) to undertake a project to:

  1. Characterize the ownership of working lands and associated land uses,

  2. Gather landowner insights into needed tools to promote land tenure and sustainable use of the property,

  3. Assess landowner attitudes and behaviors toward wildlife on their land, and

  4. Develop specific set of recommendations for future action.

As a first step, we will survey landowners in Paradise Valley, Montana that are engaged in traditional ranching (in whole or in-part). The survey instrument is founded on a number of published landowner surveys and tailored to the Paradise Valley landscape in consultation with a number of local landowners. The survey's questions closely track those of a West-wide survey currently being conducted by PERC and the Western Landowners Alliance.

The survey is designed to gain an understanding of landowners’ tenure on the property, current management practices, principal challenges faced, and the level of interest in pursuing various land health and wildlife-friendly actions. The survey will be conducted face-to-face and landowners may also opt to complete an online or mail-in survey.


Once the survey data is compiled, results will be shared with the participating landowners and the larger community through the Upper Yellowstone Watershed Group. A specific goal of these gatherings will be to develop a Paradise Valley-focused needs assessment for landowners with an emphasis on outcomes for working lands and wildlife.

In order to amplify the landowner-led outcomes identified by the survey and follow-up meetings, PERC will host a Lone Mountain Forum in late 2019 focused on “private tools to conserve private lands.” In addition, one or more papers, op-eds, and other communications will be published summarizing the findings, defining the barriers, and enhancing the opportunities to ensure the future of working lands for both the benefits of landowners and wildlife.

For more information on the project, please contact me directly at, 406-223-8972.