A Historical Homestead Protected Forever

October 15, 2021

We have successfully completed another conservation easement in the Gallatin Valley! This is our 118th conservation easement and our second easement completed with the Flikkema family. This easement protects 426 acres of farmland and open space in the Amsterdam-Churchill region of Gallatin County. A conservation easement, our primary tool for conservation, is a legal agreement between GVLT and the landowner that limits development on the property in perpetuity, keeping the landscape open and scenic forever. When a landowner places a conservation easement on their property, they are transferring a real property right, their ability to develop or subdivide the property, to the land trust and therefore reducing the value of their land.

The Maynard and Eileen Flikkema Homeplace parcel is located in the Historical Little Holland area on Churchill Road which sits within proximity to the Madison-Gallatin Plateau. The Plateau describes the high flat bench area between the two prominent rivers of the region, the Madison River (to the west) and the Gallatin River (to the east). This easement is contiguous with, and connects, two other conservation easements in the GVLT portfolio.

“This agricultural property has been in our family since 1893, when my great-grandfather immigrated from the Netherlands to homestead here in the Gallatin Valley,” Eileen wrote in a letter to the Open Lands Board.

The property is comprised of rolling foothills, scenic open space, and agricultural fields, providing beautiful, sweeping views for everyone to enjoy as they travel along nearby public roadways. The land’s productive soils produce hay and small grains. The land is also home to a variety of native species including whitetail deer and mule deer, upland birds, and Great Blue Herons. Migratory species often use the parcel as a stopover site. But what’s really interesting about the land is its rich agricultural history.

“I am now the fourth generation to own this property and have placed it in the Montana Historical Society’s Centennial Farm and Ranch Program which recognized us with more than a century of continuous ownership,” Eileen said. “Our family provided land from this property for a country Christian school just after the turn of last century which now has consolidated with Manhattan Christian School.”

The Flikkema family will continue using the property as a working farm while maintaining the high-quality scenic nature and wildlife habitat of the area. This landscape will be protected on behalf of the greater community, thus promoting the perpetuation of the scenic rural feel of Gallatin County.

Churchill Road bisects the property so you are all welcome to drive or bike past this easement whenever you wish. This bargain sale easement was completed in partnership with Gallatin County and the NRCS. GVLT is forever grateful to the Flikkema family for their generosity and partnership.