New Land Ownership Maps Available
The Montana Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) of the Montana State Library has completed a cooperative project with Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (FWP) to produce new electronic private and public land ownership map resources for the State of Montana.
New mapping technology and data resources have enabled FWP to work cooperatively with NRIS staff to develop accurate Montana land ownership maps. The new maps will enable hunters to better identify ownership and boundaries of Montana's public and private lands.
Two new maps are available. One map highlights private land ownership, while the other map highlights public land ownership. To view both maps, visit the NRIS website at: http://nris.state.mt.us/gis/ownmaps.asp . A link to this site is also available through the FWP website at:http://fwp.state.mt.us/hunting/hunteraccess/toolkit.html.
The new Private Land Ownership Identification maps depict any contiguous tract of land greater than 40 acres owned by a single party. A corresponding table lists the owner of the tract, while the Public Land Ownership Maps provide a detailed identification of public land ownership and lands managed under public and private trusts and easements. Maps are built using the USGS 1:100,000 scale topographic map boundaries as the indexing system, which is the same system used for BLM Surface Management maps. Key source data for the maps are provided by the Montana Natural Heritage Program, the Montana Department of Administration (cadastral database), and the Montana Department of Revenue.
According to Alan Charles, FWP Coordinator of Landowner/Sportsman Relations, "The wildlife agency initiated the Private Land Ownership Identification Map Project in response to legislation enacted in 1999, which required hunters
to obtain landowner permission before hunting on private land. At that time, most hunters agreed that obtaining landowner permission was a reasonable requirement, but they also stressed how difficult it was to identify who owned land in many areas. To address that issue, the Legislature included provisions that required FWP to 'work cooperatively....with all state and federal land management agencies...to develop accurate land ownership maps... in the State.'"
Map ownership information is current as of July 2004, and will be updated on an annual basis. All maps are provided in PDF format, and are produced to scale at 1:100,000, resulting in a finished map size of, at a minimum, 36" X 30". The maps are best suited for printing on a large plotter, but can be viewed with a regular Adobe Acrobat Viewer. Neither NRIS nor FWP will produce any printed maps.
The Montana Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) was established in 1985 by the Legislature. NRIS, a division of the State Library, acts as a clearinghouse for natural resource information.