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Land Management Data Praised

The NHP Montana Management Database received some well-earned praise during the 2007 Legislative Session, as part of a Legislative Performance Audit on conservation easements. MTNHP staff began the Montana Management Mapping Project in 1997, with the goal of producing a single, statewide dataset incorporating public land ownership, administrative designations (such as Wilderness Areas), and conservation easements. Thanks to cooperation from state and federal agencies and Montana’s land trusts, this effort produced a unique statewide database on public and conservation lands or “managed areas” that is updated annually. It serves as an essential resource for both public and private sector users, enabling agencies and land trusts to analyze current land management status.

The Legislative Audit Division used the Management database as their starting point for the conservation easement audit. Confirming over 90% accuracy of NHP’s easement data, their report stated that “The land management data maintained by the MNHP is probably one of the most complete and accurate records of conservation easement locations in the country.” It also noted that “[t]he decision by MNHP to collect and maintain data relating to conservation easements has been a considerable benefit to the state of Montana.”

You can access the Management Mapping Database at or through the NRIS website. Maps are available in PDF format, displaying public lands ownership, conservation easements, and special designations (two maps cover each 1:100,000 USGS quadrangle). While these maps are created for large-format plotters, you can easily view them using Adobe Reader.

Sample portion of a 1:100,000 Management PDF map. Click on the image to view the entire map.