Preserving the Lower Valley

Flathead River homestead placed in land trust

Print Article

Jerry Brosten looks out on his property in the lower Flathead Valley.

Jerry Brosten recalls fishing and exploring as a youngster along the lower Flathead River on fourth generation family property that has become so special he recently enrolled it in a conservation easement that will preserve it for traditional uses and protect it from development for perpetuity.

"I spent hours and days down here by the riverbank, and we still do," he said, referring to his wife, Aileen.

The easement covers 192 acres of farmland that skirts along 1 1/2 miles of the Flathead River near Lower Valley Road. It was brokered by the Flathead Land Trust in December, concluding a banner year for the nonprofit organization in securing four conservation projects covering 524 acres.

The Brosten property was homesteaded around 1900 by Jerry's great-great maternal grandfather, Otis Papendick. It has been farmed ever since, most recently with Jerry raising wheat, barley and canola, and putting the property to use as a lease location for weddings.

"I think all this property along the river is special," he said, gesturing to the cottonwood-lined river banks where the nearest homes lie far in the distance.

As with many other conservation easements, the Brostens have terms that allow for a small part of the land to be sold for developing one homesite, but it is mostly restricted to traditional agricultural uses.

"A conservation easement keeps the property in private ownership and maintains traditional uses for the land," said Marilyn Wood, executive director of the Flathead Land Trust. "The landowner continues to maintain the land as agreed upon in the easement and pays taxes on the property, but it cannot be subdivided or developed. In the end, it's really the community as a whole that benefits."

Wood and Ryan Hunter, a land protection specialist for the trust, both praised the Brostens.

"I was truly impressed with their kindness, generosity and love for the beauty of their property," Hunter said.

Other conservation projects completed by the trust in 2011 included a 28-acre parcel adjacent to the Smith Lake Waterfowl Production Area; 163 acres of upland forest habitat bordering Little Bitterroot Lake near Marion; and 121 acres of prime agricultural land, wetlands and wildlife habitat adjacent to the Creston Fish Hatchery.

Reporter Jim Mann may be reached at 758-4407 or by email at


This stretch of the Flathead Rive is now part of a conservation easement set up by Jerry Brosten.

Print Article

Read More Local News

New law against living in cars narrowly OK’d

October 11, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake A controversial ordinance making it a civil infraction to live and sleep in vehicles on city streets narrowly won final approval from the Kalispell City Council on Monday. The council previously dis...


Read More

Radio station founder Benny Bee Sr. dies at 75

October 11, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Bee Broadcasting founder and owner Benny Bee Sr. died Tuesday at age 75. The longtime broadcaster got his start in the radio business as a high school student in Wolf Point, quickly developing an af...


Read More

Birch Grove Willing Workers celebrate centennial

October 11, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake For 100 years the women of the Birch Grove Community northeast of Kalispell have been the caretakers of their corner of the world. They’ve held bazaars, rummage sales and other fundraisers to bring ...


Read More

4 Dems vie for HD3 vacancy

October 11, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Four Democrats have thrown their hats in the ring to replace House District 3 Rep. Zac Perry of Columbia Falls, who resigned in September to further his college education. The candidates are Debo Po...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2019 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy