Completed Phase I of the Helena Backdrop Initiative, which frames the Capital and hosts our beloved trail system. With the completion of Phase I, Mount Helena and Mount Ascension city parks cover more than 2,000 acres, which is roughly the size of New York City’s Central Park. This initiative has been a multi-year effort to secure open space to preserve the scenic integrity of the city’s backdrop while maintaining access to the popular Entertainment Trail and protecting wildlife habitat.

Protected 125 acres in the Trout Creek Valley through a conservation easement. This is the largest private land holding in that area, which is surrounded by Helena National Forest land.
Completed several trail projects including a revitalization of the Mount Helena Trailhead through a partnership with the city of Helena and installation of trail counters to get accurate user information that will help us best serve our community.

Acquired 556 acres on Tenmile and Sevenmile creeks as part of our Peaks to Creek project. Stick around for the premiere of our “Community Conservation” film, which will highlight the great outdoor opportunities this project will provide for all types of trail users.


Welcomed Mary Hollow as PPLT’s new Executive Director.

Completed the 500+ acre Johnston Easement at the confluence of Big Sheep Creek and Little Prickly Pear Creek protecting important riparian areas, critical wildlife habitat, and beautiful open space.


Donated 36 acres around Upper Prickly Pear Creek to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to facilitate the opening of the Helena Valley’s first Fishing Access Site on Upper Prickly Pear Creek.

Acquired the 58-acre Alpine Meadows lot 21A on Mt. Ascension to be conveyed to the City of Helena.

Conveyed 400 acres in York Gulch to the U.S. Forest Service.

Welcomed Robert Rasmussen as PPLT’s new trails director.


Conveyed four additional parcels on Mount Ascension (for a total of 10) to the City of Helena to be included in the city’s open space lands.

Acquired the 11th and final parcel in the first phase of the Backdrop Initiative.

Welcomed Corey Baker as PPLT’s first trails director and Grant Bronk as its new conservation director.


Protected 266 acres in the Helena Valley:  230 acres of agricultural land, wildlife habitat and scenic open space were placed under conservation easement, and the remaining 36 acres will become the first public fishing access site on Prickly Pear Creek in the valley.

Accepted the generous donation of a key two-acre parcel along Prickly Pear Creek – the first acquisition of the Helena Valley Heritage Initiative!

Secured 20 more acres as part of the Backdrop Initiative – only one more parcel to go!

Gained national accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent entity of the Land Trust Alliance. PPLT is among the first 10 percent of land trusts accredited in the nation.


Conveyed the sixth lot in the Alpine Meadows Subdivision to the City of Helena for inclusion into Mt. Ascension Natural Park.

Secured a conservation easement on 260 acres of native grassland, agricultural land and a mile of Seven Mile Creek, and a donation of 10 acres of beaver pond wetlands near Birdseye.


Protected an additional parcel on Mount Ascension that secured 20 acres and a significant portion of the Entertainment Trail


Secured a conservation easement on a 670-acre ranch near Wolf Creek, protecting this working ranch forever.

Transferred the remaining 157 acres of the Spring Hill Claim Block to the Helena National Forest.

Protected an additional 20 acres of Mount Ascension to be included in the City of Helena’s public open space and protecting a portion of the Entertainment Trail.

Facilitated a land exchange of seven acres, enabling the extension of the Far East Trail and connectivity to the Eddye McClure Trail.


Purchased 45 acres on Mount Ascension to be included in public open space, protecting a portion of the popular Entertainment Trail.

Secured a conservation easement on an historic 1,500-acre ranch near Mullan Pass that has incredible wildlife habitat.


Purchased two key parcels at the base of Mount Helena to secure trail access.


Purchased 40 acres on the summit of Mt. Ascension for inclusion in Helena open space.

Became host organization for the Montana Association of Land Trusts and hired its first executive director.

Transferred 301 acres of the Spring Hill Claim Block to the Helena National Forest.

Secured a conservation easement on 117 acres protecting the scenic and wildlife values of the Mount Helena Ridge just south of Helena.


Secured conservation easements on 251 acres of prime elk habitat adjoining the Helena National Forest in the Elkhorn Mountains.

Added a full-time Land Protection Coordinator to staff, allowing increased focus on PPLT’s private voluntary land protection program.

Received the gift of two one-acre buildable lots adjoining the Swaney Parcel, which were added to the Mt. Helena City Park.


Secured a conservation easement on 75 acres of prime winter elk habitat adjoining state lands west of Helena.

Produced a trail map of the South Hills of Helena, showing the trail network on City of Helena parklands and the Helena National Forest.

Facilitated the acquisition of the Swaney Parcel by the City of Helena, 13 acres of highly developable lands adjoining Mt. Helena City Park.


Purchased the 457-acre Spring Hill Claim Block just south of downtown Helena. Received a gift of several lots on Quarry Hill with important trail connections to Mt. Ascension trails.


Secured five acres on Mt. Ascension for the City of Helena to allow for a trail connection to Bompart Hill.


Began serving as trail coordinator to the City of Helena. PPLT has since hosted numerous trail workdays and performed trail maintenance and construction on Helena’s trails.

Collaborated with Montana Audubon, the Mikal Kellner Foundation for Animals and the City of Helena to acquire two and a half acres of wetlands in the Helena Valley.

Facilitated the purchase of 40 acres at the crest of Bompart Hill. This property was then dedicated to the City of Helena for its parks.

Protected 160 acres of key elk habitat in the Elkhorn Mountains with conservation easements.


Completed the acquisition of 173 acres on Mount Ascension and 15 acres atop Meatloaf Hill. These properties were then transferred to the City of Helena for its parks.


Protected 309 acres of prime wildlife habitat in the Elkhorn Mountains with conservation easements.


Facilitated the transfer of 119 acres from the Bureau of Land Management to the City of Helena for its parks.

Purchased a 10-acre parcel, and in cooperation with the Helena National Forest and our volunteers developed a public trail that provides access to the Waterline Trail.

Received a gift of a 122-acre parcel in the South Hills. This property was protected with a conservation easement, then resold to a conservation buyer retaining a scenic public trail corridor.