Connecting land and people

Trails, Lands, and Community Conservation

Two decades ago, the community of Helena banded together and formed Prickly Pear Land Trust to create and protect Mt. Ascension Natural Park. PPLT has stayed true to its roots and today is a creative conservation organization whose guiding principle is to “connect land and people.” We work to reach this goal by focusing on three key areas: Trails, Lands, and Community Conservation.

PPLT coordinates with public and private landowners in Helena’s South Hills and beyond to create a cohesive, streamlined, and sustainable trails system. On a run, hike or ride in the South Hills, you cross lands owned by the Forest Service, City of Helena, Bureau of Land Management and private citizens, but never leave a PPLT-influenced trail.

Conservation is in all of us, so we are all in on conservation.

Through conservation easements and the occasional purchase, PPLT’s lands program works with area landowners to guarantee vital open space and habitat are protected against subdivision and development. We make conservation a viable financial option.

With Community Conservation, PPLT seeks to get the entire community involved and outside – regardless of age or ability. Delivering services and amenities, like at our Tenmile Creek Park, to underserved segments of the community is the key to this.


PPLT believes that open spaces, trails, and a healthy environment are important to everybody and we need all hands on deck to ensure the places we care about are protected long into the future.

Give Time

We’d love your help!

Trail work days, events and committees— these are just some of the ways to give your time to PPLT. If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the project.

Give Money

You make our work possible!

From membership to sponsorship, there are so many ways to offer financial support to PPLT. Check out many levels of giving available.

Shop PPLT merch

All sales support land & trails

Get PPLT gear for the whole family— with a great selection of goods, everyone will be happy in their new Happy. Trails. merchandise.



Stakeholder Notification

The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. Prickly Pear Land Trust is pleased to announce that we are applying for renewal of accreditation. A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. “Every five years, Prickly Pear Land Trust has an opportunity to review and assess our organization’s work — to assure that we use best practices in our lands, trails, and operations functions. The accreditation process is one that we appreciate greatly as it will help ensure we are strong long into the future,” says PPLT’s Executive Director, Mary Hollow.

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how Prickly Pear Land Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit, or email your comment to [email protected] Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Comments on Prickly Pear Land Trust’s application will be most useful by Friday, April 1, 2022.