Mike & Deb Delaney

Mike Delaney has been smiling a lot lately. He has good reason to. Thanks to a partnership with The Montana Land Reliance, the State of Montana, and the Delaney family, the 44 Ranch will stay the way it is for generations to come, and has become the first property protected in partnership with Montana’s Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program. The Delaneys are also the 2016 recipients of The Montana Land Reliance’s William F. Long Conservation Award, an award given to landowners who have worked to permanently protect significant bird habitat Located north of Grass Range in the wind...

Steve & Gretchen Burke

It started with a ski trip to Big Sky more than a decade ago and was fueled by a love of the land and outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and fly-fishing. Steve and Gretchen Burke’s adventure in Montana that winter was memorable. Life-long residents of the Eastern Seaboard, Montana’s big country and tall mountains captured their imaginations. The Burkes visiteda ranch outside of Big Timber and were totally enamored. “We started thinking about maybe buying a ranch,” remembered Steve who is the CEO of NBC Universal. During the next two years, he said, “we looked at a lot of places un...

Mark Schiltz

Game Camera
Intuitively, Mark Schiltz knew that a lot of wildlife used his family’s property up on Wolf Creek in the Swan Valley near Bigfork. He could see sign and tracks. But he did not see many of the critters themselves. Then he had an idea: what about setting up a game camera in likely crossing places? “I started to set out the cameras and honestly, I was amazed by what I got back,” said Mark, who is the Western Manager for The Montana Land Reliance (MLR). In the late 1940s, Mark’s family purchased a section of ground on Wolf Creek, a piece of ground that is in a corridor to the Jewell Basin...

Marc & Sherrie Pierce

It started with hunting. A love of hunting. Waterfowl in particular. Thirty years ago, Marc Pierce was a college student at Montana State University in Bozeman. And he was a passionate waterfowl hunter, a fever that he’d picked up as a kid hunting with Dad back home in Illinois. “I started asking my college buddies about hunting and they thought I meant elk hunting,” remembered Marc. “No one hunted ducks.” He and his Dad heard about some great waterfowling near Manhattan around Warm Springs and Camp Creeks. The place was loaded with waterfowl. Even late in the season when most of the wat...

Sally & Dan Lilja

Sally and Dan
Sally Lilja grew up riding horseback in the forested hills around her hometown of Plains, Montana. She helped neighbors push cattle on a particularly lovely patch of ponderosa pine forest that overlooked a beautiful run of the Clark Fork River, so a few years ago when she was working at the local fire department and a plat for a new subdivision came in, her stomach fell. There, on ground where she had ridden as a youngster, was a planned housing development that would forever change the land she had loved. “When I saw that plat, I was just sick. Sick and a little angry,” said Sally. But ...

Bob & Dana Emery

When Bob Emery first started coming to Bozeman on fishing adventures in the mid-1980s, the Gallatin Valley was a different place. The big box stores hadn’t discovered the area and 19th Avenue was a farm road more likely to see tractor traffic than automobiles. Fast forward 30 years and the Gallatin Valley has grown. So too has the Emerys’ ties to the valley. Bob made the trip every year, following his passion for fly fishing to many of Montana’s fabled trout streams and rivers, but then one year, things changed a bit. A friend called and said he knew of a great property for sale out by Man...

Gary & Vic Anderson

V Anderson
If you have ever been lucky enough to float down Montana’s fabled Smith River, there’s a pretty good chance you have stopped off at Heaven On Earth Ranch, in the middle of the trip. And if you have stopped at Heaven on Earth Ranch, there’s a good chance you have enjoyed a Deep Creek Special, a fabulous concoction featuring cold orange juice that tastes like heaven itself, especially during a multiple-day river trip. This is where the Anderson Ranch meets the Smith River. As a floater on the Smith River you will round a bend between walls of limestone fringed by Douglas fir to a memorable si...