Photo by Louise Johns

100-year-old Spring Family Farm Conserved in East Gallatin Area

July 20, 2020

In mid-July, Gallatin Valley Land Trust secured its latest conservation easement, protecting the 100-year-old Spring Family Farm. The 313 acre farm was established in 1902 by homesteader George W. Spring and sits northeast of Belgrade in in the Springhill/East Gallatin area. The Spring family maintained the farm through the Great Depression, producing crops and award winning shorthorn cattle. Wilbur Spring, Jr. “turned the swampy pasture land into a thriving hay and grain operation.”  Today, the farm remains in agricultural production, including wheat, barley, oats, and canola and alfalfa hay.

The Spring siblings wrote to the Gallatin County Open Lands Board that a conservation easement “ensure[s] that future generations will also be able to experience the feeling of peace that overtakes anyone who walks through the hay fields while gazing at the beautiful Bridger Mountains and watching the antics of the Sandhill cranes and the other creatures that inhabit this paradise.”

The Spring Farm is home to a variety of native species, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, waterfowl, great blue herons, Sandhill cranes and more. The land also serves as a stopover food source location on agricultural fields for a multitude of migratory species. Incomparable scenic beauty encapsulates the land, with the Bridger Mountain range providing a gorgeous backdrop to this historical working farm. Locals can enjoy the picturesque property from the public Penwell Bridge Road, which runs along the southern boundary of the property. The legacy of the Spring family will live on in their land, which is now protected in perpetuity with the help of the Gallatin County Open Lands Program, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the generosity and dedication of the Spring Family.