Fox Farm State Lands
Questions and Answers
- WHY IS A CHANGE IN LAND USE FOR THE FOX FARM STATE LANDS BEING PURSUED AND WHO IS DOING IT: The Montana state agency Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (DNRC) is in charge of managing all “state lands” in Montana. DNRC has a constitutional fiduciary duty to generate revenue from trust land for the benefit of schools and other institutions in Montana. The DNRC generates revenue through many programs, considering the highest and best use for properties across the state. The highest and best use for the Fox Farm parcels has been determined by an appraiser to be real estate development.
- HOW CAN THE LAND BE PROTECTED? In accordance with DNRC’s Real Estate Management Plan, DNRC completed a solicitation process to allow for conservation interests to purchase an easement on the property in lieu of real estate development. By law the DNRC is required to charge the full market value of the encumbered land when selling an easement, and an appraisal will be required.
- WHO CAN AUTHORIZE AND WHO CAN HOLD THE EASEMENT? Under MCA 77-2-101, the Land Board can only grant an easement for public use to a local government or state government entity with authority to hold the easement.
- WHO IS LEADING THE CHARGE TO PURSUE AN EASEMENT? The non-profit group called Missouri River Open Lands Preservation (MROLP) is requesting an easement on the Fox Farm State Lands to keep it as open space for public uses as is.
- WHAT IS STATUS OF THE EASEMENT AND WHO IS PURSUING IT? Presently, no easement application has been submitted to DNRC regarding the Fox Farm parcel. However, at the request of Missouri River Open Lands (MROLP), the Cascade County Commission has expressed interest in holding the easement for them.
- WHAT IS THE REAL GOAL OF MROLP? MROLP’s purpose has and continues to be to keep the approximately 80 acres of Fox Farm state lands in open space.
- HOW IS MROLP PURSING THE EASEMENT? MROLP is following the rules of DNRC, managers of the state lands, that allows for keeping the land as status quo – open space.
- WHAT ARE DNRC’S RULES AND PROCESS FOR ACQUIRING AN EASEMENT? See attached DNRC memo.
- HOW LONG WILL THE EASEMENT PROCESS GOING TO TAKE? Easement process varies depending upon complexity, how quick it takes to required tasks and how fast MROLP raises funds to acquire easement.
- WHAT HAPPENS IF MROLP DOES NOT RAISE ENOUGH FUNDS TO ACQUIRE EASEMENT? DNRC will go back to original plan to develop the land.
- WHAT TYPE OF DEVELOPMENT MAY OCCUR IF EASEMENT UNSUCCESFUL? Development may include senior living group homes and anything else that fits into the local city annexation rules.
- IF EASEMENT SUCCESSFUL, WHAT WILL BE FUTURE USES? There will not be any changes in use which is currently recreational such as hiking, biking, walking dogs, birdwatching, etc. NO motorized vehicles are currently allowed or will be allowed in the future.
- HOW WILL THE EASEMENT BE PAID FOR? MROLP is in the process of raising funds through donations and grants to pay for an easement in perpetuity to the state school trust to keep this land as open space.
- WHAT WILL THE EASEMENT COST AND HOW MUCH HAS BEEN RAISED TO-DATE? MROLP’s goal is to raise approximately $1,000,000 to acquire the easement. To-date, over $120,000 have been raised. Thanks to many individuals and groups.
- WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MROLP? You can read more about the project on MROLP’s web site: missouririveropenlands.org