Save The Cowboy
American Prairie Reserve
We Are A Community
We are not a single entity, we are a community of people coming together to fight the American Prairie Reserve. We are generations of farmers, ranchers, business owners, and families that homestead this area, who are coming together to stand up for not only our livelihood, but for future generations in our communities. The cowboy is a widely recognized symbol of independence, grit, persistence, and hard work, strength, courage and a willingness to stand for what he believes in, which fits perfectly with what Save The Cowboy stands for. This grassroots movement has grown far beyond our imaginations. People can relate to the fact that the "cowboy way of life" is threatened, which really means agriculture and our rural way to life is being threatened and then so are our communities and local businesses, and then the whole west. The Save The Cowboy movement encourages community support and action instead of acceptance.
Together, we will STOP the American Prairie Reserve to preserve the heritage of our past and to be able to pass this great treasure on to future generations.
Our mission is to raise awareness about American Prairie Reserve’s radical plan to assume over 3 million acres of public land for their single, dominant goal of the largest wildlife reserve in North America. To accomplish this goal they must remove all production agriculture from their target area, as well as limit hunting and recreation by the general public. We are here to help educate the public about the reality of who is “saving” the prairie and who is exploiting it. This area is viewed as pristine today because of 100 years of agriculture caring for it, and over 80 years of cooperation between ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management to improve and protect it. It is managed for multiple use under stringent standards, and is recognized as a world class hunting, fishing, and hiking area while also providing forage for production livestock that helps feed our nation and beyond. All of this was accomplished long before American Prairie Reserve ever cast their eyes upon it..
Why We Are Taking A Stance
How could anyone object to APR creating an “American Serengeti” in north-central Montana? After all, jobs in cattle country are low paying and antiquated, so why won’t these people just step aside and let the APR take over?
It may come as a surprise to some, but there are thousands of Montanans who live in the communities the APR wants to wipe off the map, and they don’t want to be displaced. Anyone who spends any time in north-central Montana will find close-knit, thriving communities, with great schools, hard-working people, and an enviable lifestyle. The people who live in APR’s target zone live there by choice, and they don’t want to be forced out. And those people shouldn’t have to go anywhere just because a handful of billionaires have designs to create some sort of theme park.
No one objects to what APR does on the property they own. We do object to what APR wants to do on other people’s property. APR’s ultimate objective is to create a free-roaming bison herd, which by definition means that neighboring landowners will be forced to have wild bison on their property as well. APR also wants preferential treatment for the public grazing permits they control. They have requested to graze public land year-round, which no cattle or sheep operation has the freedom to do. Ranchers have cooperated for years with BLM and CMR to establish best practices for grazing—APR’s plan would ignore those, which could do a great deal of damage to the public’s land.
The APR is an existential threat to communities all over north-central Montana. The success of APR is contingent upon them eradicating hundreds of family farms and ranches. APR cannot achieve their stated goal of a 3.5 million acre wildlife reserve without that happening. APR has represented this area as virtually vacant. That’s an obvious mistruth to anyone who’s been through north-central Montana. The economic repercussions of liquidating a significant part of Montana’s agriculture economy will have ripple effects throughout Montana’s economy. APR’s promises of new tourism opportunities ring hollow. APR is a well funded, well run non-profit NGO which derives nearly all of its support from outside Montana. They have been here for about 15 years, pretending to be new neighbors only wanting to blend in. Recently their gloves have begun to come off, and people are getting a clearer picture of what their success will mean. That’s sparked a grassroots movement in the communities APR wants to take over and eliminate. Signs with the message “Save the Cowboy, STOP American Prairie Reserve” are now ubiquitous throughout the area. Our objective is to turn the tables and wipe the APR from the map.
How You Can Help
You can help STOP the American Prairie Reserve’s efforts to “rewild” these lands that support thriving communities, offer unparalleled recreation, and provide high quality protein for a hungry world by spreading awareness about APR’s planned takeover. Fewer than 10 donors have provided over 80% of the funding for APR’s purchases. We must not allow a handful of billionaires to idle this area for their own desires!
Share this website to help educate your friends and neighbors.
Display a banner, sign, or bumper sticker to show support and spread the word.
Donate money to help fund our efforts to hold American Prairie Reserve to the same federal regulations that production livestock operations must follow on federal land.
We have partnered with Rural Montana Foundation, the 501c3 arm of United Property Owners of Montana, to accept donations that are tax-deductible. All donations made through the link on this site will be earmarked for Save the Cowboy STOP American Prairie Reserve. You may also mail donation checks to: Rural Montana Foundation, 1820 N Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601, and designate the donation for Save the Cowboy.
Mid-State Signs has been a great supporter of this movement. They have made all the signs at cost, so check them out!
Listen to LaneCast Ag Podcast
Lane Nordlund speaks with Ross Butcher about how the report by the Montana Natural Resource Coalition addresses a request by the American Prairie Reserve to convert BLM grazing leases from traditional livestock production to indigenous animal or bison uses. MTNRC President and Fergus County Commission Ross Butcher shares more on what the grassroots report is about.