American Prairie Foundation

See our Gifts

American Prairie Foundation (APF) is spearheading a unique effort to ignite America’s passion for large-scale conservation by assembling the largest wildlife reserve in the lower forty-eight states. When complete, the Reserve will span more than three million acres of private and public land, recreating for modern visitors the astonishing wildlife spectacle seen by Lewis and Clark when they first explored the region more than two centuries ago.

To this end, American Prairie Foundation is focused on three main goals:

1. To accumulate and wisely manage, based on sound science, enough private land to create and maintain a fully-functioning prairie-based wildlife reserve.
2. To provide a variety of public access opportunities to this wildlife amenity.
3. To ensure that the land remains productive in a way that contributes significantly to the local economy.


The mission of American Prairie Foundation is to create and manage a prairie-based wildlife reserve that, when combined with public lands already devoted to wildlife, will protect a unique natural habitat, provide lasting economic benefits, and improve public access to and enjoyment of the prairie landscape.


We believe that Montanans, the American public, and people everywhere value access to open spaces where plants and animals thrive in their natural environment. We feel the existence of and access to inspirational landscapes like the open prairie will be increasingly desired as world population rises further and land continues to be locked up for the benefit of only a select few. Also, we believe the rich natural heritage of North America's native prairie is of immeasurable value and should be conserved for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations. We think a prairie reserve can peacefully coexist with agricultural enterprise and, over time, can add to the vibrancy of rural economies.


For more than one hundred and fifty years, individuals and organizations have sought to conserve wildlife on the Great Plains.

In 1999, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) published "Ecoregional Planning in the Northern Great Plains Steppe," which, for the first time, pinpointed areas of the Northern Great Plains that were most important for restoring the region’s habitats. Shortly after TNC published its findings, World Wildlife Fund decided to initiate a conservation effort in the Montana Glaciated Plains, one of the key areas identified by TNC. During the same period, the Northern Plains Conservation Network, a coalition of local and national organizations, endorsed the importance of initiating a conservation program in the Montana Glaciated Plains. APF was formed as an independent nonprofit as a result of these discussions.

Today, APF is a freestanding, non-profit, Montana-based organization. As a registered land trust, our main focus is to purchase, hold title to, and thoughtfully manage habitat in the region.


APF is working to acquire enough private land that, when combined with adjacent public lands already devoted to wildlife, will provide people with a unique experience reminiscent of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Thriving herds of elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, pronghorn and the majestic American bison roam these grasslands. Cottonwoods, willows and other native vegetation are regenerating along streams, creating habitat for beaver, bobcats, snakes and other wildlife. Numerous historical sites like teepee rings, buffalo jumps and homestead-era structures are being preserved for visitors’ enjoyment and education.

The plains of eastern Montana offer one of the last remaining areas where a large landscape can be reassembled and made available for public enjoyment. By working with managers of adjacent public and private lands, the opportunity exists to provide visitors with sensational benefits: abundant wildlife, outstanding scenery and thoughtfully regulated access. We will offer the public a quality outdoor experience with opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, biking, camping, bird watching and hunting. APF is working toward enabling visitors to easily experience this spectacular area.

Over the years, a variety of forces have affected rural economics in America’s Great Plains. Increased efficiencies in mechanization allow the same productivity levels to occur with far fewer people employed. When combined with other factors, this results in fewer people employed in farming and ranching, with less capital spent locally on equipment, insurance, fuel and in family-owned businesses.

While agriculture will remain dominant in the region, APF believes a prairie reserve devoted to wildlife can ultimately help diversify local economies. Expenditures on a wildlife reserve such as road maintenance, fences, overnight facilities and monitoring of wildlife also compare favorably with agriculture in total dollars spent in a community. Also, economic activity is created as visitors rent vehicles, contract with local guides and patronize restaurants, hotels and retail shops.

We don’t expect an overnight transition, but we do anticipate being a positive force in helping make the local economies more robust.


APF owns and/or leases 123,000 acres of deeded and public land. Additionally, the ranches APF has purchased have historically held grazing privileges on 63,000+ acres in the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. As directed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy, those habitat units will be rested from grazing until the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) is approved. After the CCP is approved, the Service will use various management tools to promote healthy plant and wildlife habitat conditions.

APF lands provide valuable habitat for species such as bison, pronghorn, sage grouse and many other animals. In 2005, we successfully reintroduced a small herd of bison to Montana's Great Plains after an absence of more than 120 years. Today, the herd numbers well over one hundred and continues to grow. Studies are underway on American Prairie Reserve relating to pronghorn migration, prairie dog and black-footed ferret restoration, riparian restoration and several other important aspects of ecological concern. To learn more about our project progress, please visit:

We seek to provide quality public access opportunities on the Reserve and regularly offer the Reserve to the local community and educational groups from around the country as a "living laboratory" for educational and scientific use.


To date, American Prairie Reserve is comprised of 123,000 acres of private and public land. In 2010, we closed on our 12th property purchase and completed construction of our first public campground.

This year, we have many exceptional opportunities for growth ahead of us:

• We have unprecedented opportunities for land acquisition this year. With the necessary funding, we could more than double the size of the existing Reserve.
• We will build our first hiking trail and install interpretive signs, furthering our mission of providing a high quality visitor experience to the public.
• Our internship and volunteer programs will be expanded, giving a greater number of people a chance to experience a sense of ownership in the project.


Sean joined American Prairie Foundation at its inception in 2001 as APF’s first board member. He became president in 2002. He currently serves on APF’s fourteen-member board of directors and oversees APF’s staff of twenty-one employees.

Prior to joining APF Sean was a co-founder of Catalyst Consulting. Based in Santa Cruz, California, Catalyst specializes in organization alignment, strategy development and implementation. Started in 1985, Catalyst grew from the original three founders to 35 employees with offices in Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Washington, DC. During his sixteen years with Catalyst, Sean worked extensively with clients throughout North America, Europe and Asia.


Gib Myers - Chair
Founder, Entrepreneurs Foundation
Partner Emeritus, Mayfield Fund

Elizabeth Ruml - Treasurer
Retired Managing Director, Salomon Brothers

Charles J. Abbe
Retired President/COO
JDS Uniphase

Clyde Aspevig

Sean Gerrity
American Prairie Foundation

Erivan Haub
Owner and Chairman of the Tengelmann Group

Helga Haub
Chairwoman of the Elizabeth Haub Foundation

George E. Matelich
Kelso & Company

Susan Matelich
Private Investor, Active Volunteer

Jeff Miller
President, JAMM Ventures

Susan Myers
Community Volunteer

Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs
Author, The Lewis and Clark Companion

Keith Anderson
Chief Investment Officer for Soros Fund Management, LLC.


United States




PO BOX 908

BOZEMAN, MT 59771-0908

Phone: (406) 585-4600

EIN: 81-0541893



Support BioBlitz

Science & Education

American Prairie Foundation

Regular price $150.00

Help support BioBlitz, a 24-hour event in which teams of volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers and other community members work together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes and other organisms as possible. This summer, June 23-25, we will host our first BioBlitz on American Prairie Reserve.

Bison Collar

Buy 1 Satellite Collar

American Prairie Foundation

Regular price $5,000.00

$5,000 covers the cost of one satellite collar, allowing us to better monitor our bison herd and share real-time data about the herd's movements with project enthusiasts.

Fence Removal

Remove 360 Feet

American Prairie Foundation

Regular price $95.00

Your gift will help us remove a section of fence the length of a football field. By removing unneeded fence on the Reserve, your gift will open valuable corridors of wildlife migration for pronghorn and other regional species.

Interpretive Signs

Install One Sign

American Prairie Foundation

Regular price $1,000.00

This gift will help pay for one interpretive sign to be installed on the Reserve. The cost of each sign is $1,000. These signs will help to make American Prairie Reserve a more "visitor friendly" destination. They will provide visitors with a better understanding of the project's significance and the natural and cultural history of the landscape that the project protects.