Gallatin County Commission green lights Pass Creek conservation easement


Bozeman, Mont. (May 18, 2016) – Calling it a “no-brainer,” Joe Skinner and the other Gallatin County commissioners approved a 164-acre conservation easement Tuesday on a hay field along Pass Creek, 17 miles north of Bozeman.


It was an easy decision because of the cost. Unlike other easements that have tapped the voter-approved open space bonds for millions of dollars, this easement, on land owned by Rick and Nancy Brokaw, will require just $39,000 – money that will pay for the administrative costs of closing the deal. That’s because the Brokaws are donating the value of the easement, $427,000, toward the deal.

Commissioners Skinner, Don Seifert and Steve White all thanked the Brokaws.

The land being conserved was once part of the Accola Ranch. It’s currently leased for pasture and hay by Bruce Haugland.

The Brokaws, Maryland natives, bought the land in 2013 for their retirement home. The easement stipulates an option to build another home inside a 5-acre area next to the existing house.

“We just want to protect the land after we’re gone,” Rick Brokaw said Tuesday. “It’s just my wife and I. We don’t have any plans to build.”

Kathryn Kelly, manager for the Montana Land Reliance, presented the easement to the commissioners, noting that the land was located near other conservation easements. It’s used by black bear, pronghorn, deer and other wildlife, she said, noting that it is a particularly important breeding area for golden eagles.

Once given final approval, the easement will forever prevent subdividing the land. It will only be available for agricultural production with the exception of a home-based business like a bed and breakfast. And no new roads or mines, surface or subsurface, can be constructed.

Source: Bozeman Daily Chronicle