in taxpayer funds appropriated by Congress from the Land,
Water and Conservation Fund was used by the US Department
of Interior and the US Forest Service to protect land owned
by the Church Universal and Triumphant including:
• The purchase of 5,262 acres of Church lands in Cutler
Meadows, North Dry Creek, Bassett Creek and Royal Teton Ranch
lands between Yankee Jim Canyon and Cinnabar Mountain, near
Yellowstone National Park.
• A conservation easement for wildlife habitat on 1,508
acres near Devil’s Slide.
• An exchange of 1,000 acres of public lands for 1,012
acres of Church Universal and Triumphant lands to consolidate
ownership in Mol Heron, Aldridge Lake and along the Yellowstone
Source: USFS Gallatin National Forest Briefing
Paper, Royal Teton Ranch Land Conservation Project, (Current
2003); RTR Purchase Summary with Funding Breakdown January
20 2000 Updated March 6, 2000 to include Phase II closing
"John Logan, Gardiner District Ranger, said the primary
management emphasis for these lands will be to provide quality
wildlife habitat, including historic winter range and migration
habitat for elk, mule deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, bison
and other species. The lands also contain critical habitat
for grizzly bear and Yellowstone cutthroat trout."
Source: USFS Press Release, February 16,
"Based on the above changes and the completion of the
proposed land exchange, there will be very little suitable
land on which to graze livestock remaining in federal ownership
with in the Park Allotment. Therefore, the Park Allotment
will be recommended for discontinuance or closure." (Making
a recommendation on what the Conservation Easement agreement
should say about grazing cattle on the Park Allotment).
Source: John Logan, Gardiner Ranger District
1/17/01 email to Robert Dennee, USFS.
"Following completion of the proposed RTR land exchange,
most of the suitable grazing lands in the Park Allotment will
be on Church-owned lands. There will be very little federal
land remaining in the Park Allotment suitable for grazing.
The Bison Management Plan also proposes removal of livestock
grazing by 2001. (Earle - Is this sentence based upon the
final EIS?) Therefore, upon completion of the RTR land exchange,
the Gardiner District Ranger will recommend closure of the
Source: Robert Dennee, USFS 3/28/01 email.
"The five year grazing lease between the Church Universal
and Triumphant and Brian Severin terminated April 1, 2002.
By mutual agreement, the Church did not renew this lease.
It is our understanding that the Church entered into a one
year grazing agreement with Wade Peck to graze lands within
the Park Allotment during 2002."
A spreadsheet accompanying the District Ranger’s letter
shows that the expiration date for the Park Allotment is December
31, 2002. Grazing on/off dates are from July 1 to October
5. The Park grazing allotment encompassed the 1,508 acre Devil's
Slide Conservation Easement, which is held by the US Forest
Source: Ken Britton, District Ranger, Gardiner
Ranger District, USFS July 24, 2002.
"The Church Universal and Triumphant, RMEF [Rocky Mountain
Elk Foundation] and Forest Service recognize that a grazing
plan will need to be developed for the RTR Conservation Easement
land prior to grazing livestock on these private lands in
"The Church, RMEF and involved agencies have not developed
a Bison Management Plan for the Easement lands."
Source: Rebecca Heath, Forest Supervisor,
Gallatin National Forest, July 12, 2002 letter.
“The People of the United States recognize” that
the Devil’s Slide “and their surrounding environs,
have significant and important natural features and wildlife
habitat values.” The Devil’s Slide provides “important
habitat for large numbers of wild ungulates including antelope,
bison, bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer and other nationally
significant wildlife programs such as recovery efforts for
bald eagle, peregrine falcon, grizzly bear and gray wolf.”
“The parties … are desirous of preserving and
protecting said values in perpetuity for the benefit and enjoyment
of the American people.”
Source: Devil’s Slide Purchased Conservation
Easement BASELINE STUDY Royal Teton Ranch Conservation Project,
In December 2002, the Church Universal and Triumphant released
a ten-year Grazing Management Plan allowing for up to 178
cow-calf pairs or steers to be seasonally grazed on the Devil’s
Slide conservation easement lands. “The purpose of this
GMP is to fulfill the requirements of the DOCE [Deed of Conservation
Easement]. Ideally, the forthcoming Wildlife Plan and the
Bison Management Plan (in-process) will be consistent with
Source: CHURCH UNIVERSAL AND TRIUMPHANT Devil’s
Slide Conservation Easement Grazing Management Plan, December
In February 2003 Gardiner District Ranger Ken Britton approves
the Church’s Grazing Management Plan stating: “We
also expect that the plan will be consistent with the forthcoming
Bison Management Plan, which is also specified in the Conservation
Source: Ken Britton, Gardiner District Ranger,
Gallatin National Forest letter to Church Universal and Triumphant,
February 25, 2003.
"Max Baucus: Another suggestion is that on the bison
issue and other related issues, when we work on them we should
remember this day. This is a great day for Montanans, for
sportsmen across the state. And so the spirit of the joy today
we assume that we're going to have the right attitude in working
out these other solutions and don't get wrapped around the
actual, minor details on the bison issue. But remember the
spirit of today so we can get those bison issues and other
related issues worked out pretty amicably."
Source: Senator Max Baucus, Transcript of
Press Conference, November 11, 1998, Bozeman, Montana.
Real Estate Purchase Option Agreement, Exhibit D,
February 10, 1999.
m. The Church and USFS will develop an agreement regarding
existing agricultural and hunting uses on lands identified
for public acquisition.
n. All of Seller's Grazing Allotments presently in place to
continue pursuant to the terms of the allotments. Deed of
Conservation Easement, Royal Teton Ranch - Devil's Slide Area
August 30, 1999.
"Whereas, there exists now, and for some time in the
future, a need to preserve and protect the surviving indigenous
North American bison herd, elk herd, and other wildlife of
Yellowstone National Park, the survival of which it appears
is based on the need to allow the free and unhampered migration
of these animals outside the boundary of the Park; and
Whereas, the Grantor finds itself in a unique position to
aid and assist in the preservation of the Yellowstone National
Park bison and other wildlife by setting aside a portion of
its lands, in perpetuity, thereby providing in the natural
world, a safe haven for the bison; and
Whereas, the Grantor's lands provide significant winter range
and crucial habitat for many indigenous species including
elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, pronghorns, grizzly and black
bears, mountain lions, other indigenous wildlife, and, upon
completion of the Bison Management Plan, significant winter
range and crucial habitat for bison;".
F. Ranching and Agricultural Activities. “Grantor shall
have the right to use the Easement Lands for traditional agricultural
and ranching activities, including the grazing of livestock,
consistent with the terms of this Easement, provided these
activities do not materially jeopardize the wildlife habitat
values ... ”
H. Domestic Livestock and Grazing. “… Grazing
activity by domestic animals shall be governed by a Grazing
Management Plan ("Grazing Management Plan") prepared
by a qualified natural resource specialist and reviewed and
approved by the Grantee and Grantor. The Grantee acknowledges
that this Conservation Easement is taken subject to the rights
of a grazing lease, which grazing lease will expire on or
before December 31, 2002. Provided, however, that prior to
any grazing on the Easement Lands after January 1, 2003, the
Grantor and the Grantee shall mutually agree upon the terms
and conditions of the Grazing Management Plan consistent with
this Conservation Easement.”
C. Conservation, Enforcement, Injunction, and Restoration.
“The Grantee has the right to prevent any activity on,
or use of, the Easement Lands which is inconsistent with this
Easement. The Grantee is entitled to take any legal action
to prevent such activity, including, but not limited to, obtaining
an injunction in a court of competent jurisdiction ..."
A. “The parties agree ... to develop a Royal Teton Ranch
Bison Management Plan ... for the Easement Lands and other
lands mutually agreed upon ... This plan would be intended
to guide management actions consistent with the terms and
purposes of this Easement, though it may be more protective
of bison and their habitat. It should identify ways to manage
the land to preserve, restore and enhance the bison that utilize
the Property and their habitat.”
Darrell Geist & Associates
PO Box 7941
Missoula, MT 59807
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758