Sweet Grass Hills Mineral Withdrawal extended 20 years


(HAVRE, Mont.) – The “Hills” rise 3,000 feet above the surrounding prairie and have both spiritual and historical associations to many northern plains Indian tribes.  This island mountain range surrounded by a sea of prairie is also known for its abundant wildlife and as a source of water for area residents.

To continue protections for the Sweet Grass Hills, the Department of Interior through the Bureau of Land Management has extended the existing mineral withdrawal in Toole and Liberty Counties for 20 more years.  

“Protection of the Sweet Grass Hills has been an important public land issue for many years,” said BLM Havre Field Manager Stanley Jaynes. This mineral withdrawal helps to preserve the unique natural and cultural resources of this cherished Montana landscape.

The Sweet Grass Hills were designated as a Traditional Cultural Property in 1995 by the BLM in consultation with the Assiniboine, Blackfeet, Chippewa-Cree, Gros Ventre, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Montana State Historic Preservation Office. This landscape is associated with the traditional beliefs of regional tribes regarding their origins, culture history and the nature of the world. Traditional spiritual practitioners have used the Sweet Grass Hills for generations beyond count and they continue to be a source of spiritual inspiration. The Sweet Grass Hills were determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places because of their historical associations with Montana tribes and historical as well as legendary tribal leaders.  

The Sweet Grass Hills withdrawal covers 19,686 acres of locatable federal minerals on the East, Middle and West Buttes. The existing withdrawal expires on April 9, 2017. The new order extends the withdrawal to April 9, 2037. The Sweet Grass Hills were closed to fluid mineral leasing by the Hi Line Resource Management Plan in September, 2015. For more information, see Public Land Order No. 7857, published in the Federal Register.  

Sweet Grass Hills

The Sweet Grass Hills, an island mountain range surrounded by a sea of Montana prairie, slumbers just shy of America’s northern border. (BLM Photo Jonathan Moor)



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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Release Date

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Bureau of Land Management


Havre Field Office


Jonathan Moor
(406) 538-1943