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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why was Travelers for Open Land created?

Q. Who can participate in Travelers for Open Land?

Q. How is the donation money used?

Q. How will Montana visitors benefit from this program?

Q. How will Montana residents benefit from this program?

Q. Who manages the program and decides who receives grants?

Q. How much of the grant funds are spent on administration?

Q. Can anyone receive funding from Travelers for Open Land?

Q. How does the grant work?

Q. What do land trusts do?

Q. What is a conservation easement?

Q. What kinds of lands would be eligible for a grant under Travelers for Open Land?

Q. Why is Travelers for Open Land important to the hospitality industry?

Q. What does Travelers for Open Land want to accomplish?



Q. Why was Travelers for Open Land created?
a. The program was created by the Montana Innkeepers Association and the Montana Association of Land Trusts to provide a way for guests who stay at participating lodging properties and visit other travel-related businesses to make a voluntary contribution to protect Montana's open lands. Montana Office of Tourism and the Montana Community Foundation are also key partners in the Travelers program.

Q. Who can participate in Travelers for Open Land?
a. As a donor, everyone! You can either donate on our website or through a participating business.

Q. How is the donation money used?
a. The funds will be used by land trusts to establish voluntary conservation agreements called conservation easements in partnership with private landowners. Together, land trusts and landowners have been protecting private lands in Montana for over 30 years. Conservation easements protect working farms and ranches, water quality and wildlife habitat, preserve open lands and retain the values that make Montana such an attractive place to live, work and recreate.

Q. How will Montana visitors benefit from this program?
a. Virtually every public opinion survey conducted about Montana tourism indicates there are three main reasons people come to Montana: vast open lands, abundant and diverse wildlife and outdoor recreation. Travelers for Open Land directly and permanently protects open lands, wildlife habitat and helps maintain opportunities for outdoor recreation. These natural assets keep travelers coming back year after year and create a larger constituency for protecting the Montana experience. Travelers for Open Land provides everyone an opportunity to make a direct contribution to help keep these natural assets intact over the years to come for everyone to experience.

Q. How will Montana residents benefit from this program?
a. Montanans have created, cultivated and maintained this special place and treasure the state's mystique and majesty. Montanans are proud of our farm and ranch heritage and value the state's working farms, ranches and forests. These open lands are essential not only to our way of life and our quality of life, but also to our economy and our future.

Q. Who manages the program and decides who receives grants?
a. The Travelers Grant Review Panel, which includes two board members and the Executive Director from the Montana Innkeepers Association (MIKA), two board members and the Executive Director from the Montana Association of Land Trusts, and one MIKA-approved Montana resident, reviews grant applications and awards funding based on accepted Montana open lands criteria. The criteria explicitly require a significant cash match from the applicant, demonstrated community support, cooperative partners and they make clear that projects must protect and enhance open lands, wildlife habitat, working farms/ranches, outdoor recreation, historic preservation or other important values held by Montana residents and guests.

Q. How much of the grant funds are spent on administration?
a. None. MALT and TFOL have obtained other administrative funding to operate the program, which ensures every dollar donated to Travelers for Open Land goes directly to on-the-ground conservation projects.

Q. Can anyone receive funding from the Travelers for Open Land fund?
a. Only private, nonprofit land conservation organizations that are members of the Montana Association of Land Trusts (MALT) can receive support for projects and the projects must be located in the state of Montana. MALT promotes and supports excellence in private voluntary land conservation and is comprised of these 12 private, nonprofit members:
- Prickly Pear Land Trust, Helena
- Gallatin Valley Land Trust, Bozeman
- The Trust for Public Land, Bozeman
- Flathead Land Trust, Kalispell
- Montana Land Reliance, Helena
- Five Valleys Land Trust, Missoula
- Bitter Root Land Trust, Hamilton
- The Conservation Fund, Missoula
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Missoula
- The Vital Ground Foundation, Missoula
- The Nature Conservancy of Montana, Helena
- Clark Fork-Pend Oreille Conservancy


Q. How does the grant work?
a. MALT members submit grant applications to Travelers for Open Land once a year. The application must meet three criteria:
  1. funds are used for voluntary open land conservation (project costs, not staff time, not administration, and no outright or fee title purchase of property).
  2. The proposed conservation project has broad-based community support.
  3. Money from Travelers for Open Land is matched three to one (with a one-to-one cash match) by the requesting land trust.
  4. The Review Board will actively solicit proposals for projects distributed throughout the state.

Q. What do land trusts do?
a. Land trusts work with private landowners to obtain voluntary conservation agreements (conservation easements) that can help private land owners maintain working farms and ranches, protect water quality, protect wildlife habitat, preserve open lands and retain the values that make Montana such an attractive place to live, work and recreate. Land trusts are private, nonprofit groups that specialize in private land conservation and conservation easements.

Q. What is a conservation easement?
a. A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and land trust (or certain public agencies) that permanently protects open lands by limiting residential development. Landowners typically receive compensation for limiting these development rights through a payment or tax incentives. Money collected through Travelers for Open Land helps fund these payments.

Q. What kinds of lands would be eligible for a grant under Travelers for Open Land?
a. Eligible lands must have important conservation values. In other words, eligible lands must be worthy of conserving. They must contain wildlife or wildlife habitat, be open and undeveloped (and stay that way) for the scenic enjoyment of the public, preserve lands for outdoor recreation or protect banks of rivers and creeks (riparian areas) for clean water and fish habitat.

Q. Why is Travelers for Open Land important to the hospitality industry?
a. It's important for what it does, how it works and its lasting benefits. The program demonstrates a commitment from the Montana hospitality industry and other tourist-related businesses as a vital and involved corporate citizen to widely held community values and goals. The program allows the hospitality industry to partner with our guests, communities, landowners and land trusts to conserve landscapes that we all respect and cherish.

Q. What does Travelers for Open Land want to accomplish?
a. The program is designed to protect open lands, working farms and ranches, recreational opportunities, clean water and wildlife habitat - the qualities that inspire people to visit Montana and make Montana so special to all of us. The partnership created by Travelers for Open Land is a friendly, voluntary way to sustain our way of life, our shared values and the economy, which supports it all.