In its second year, the Bobcat Create & Conserve Contest and Habitat event headed to Keith Fortin’s property in Whitehall, Montana.

Fortin’s land received the ultimate land transformation after Bobcat Co., along with partners Rick and Julie Kreuter — co-hosts of the hit television show “Beyond the Hunt” on The Outdoor Channel — selected Fortin as this year’s winner. The revitalization helped re-establish native plant species, encourage healthy new growth and develop the land for sustainable future.

“From the day we bought this property, we knew we would need to be proper stewards of the land,” Fortin said. “We wanted to take care of the land and be thankful and grateful that we have it. It was a big surprise to be chosen as a finalist, but then when we won the contest, I felt like it would really help us.”

Before and after photos of the new pond on Keith Fortin's property in Montana thanks to the Bobcat Create & Conserve contest.

Before and after photos of the new pond on Keith Fortin’s property in Montana thanks ot the Bobcat Create & Conserve contest.

Over a week, Fortin’s self-contained land — situated just east of the Continental Divide — was transformed with the help of several Bobcat machines. A Toolcat utility work machine, four Bobcat utility vehicles, an excavator with a thumb and two compact track loaders, as well as a variety of attachments, were used to create a conservation plot, install 1,800 ft of irrigation to water the conservation plot, dig a pond adjacent to the plot and remove dead trees that could be used as firewood. The conservation plot and pond portions of the project will provide another food and water source for wildlife, including elk, moose, bears, mountain lions and deer.

“I love what he is doing,” said Robert Gilles, segment application marketing manager at Bobcat. “He has minimal waste and relies very little on the outside world. The projects that have been completed are going to be incredible. I know if we come back here in three years and do a follow-up, the land will be improved upon and nothing will be neglected.”

Fortin says maintaining his property takes dedication, but he does it for the love of the land.

“I can’t focus on the whole world or state of Montana, but I can focus on what we have here,” he said.

The Bobcat Create & Conserve Contest and Habitat Event were created in 2013. Entrants are asked to describe their ideal land transformation project that supports conservation.

Bobcat Company selects the winning entry and — with help from Rick and Julie Kreuter, and other partnering sponsors — supplies equipment and other prizes, and manpower to complete the project. Partnering sponsors include:

• Burris
• Yeti
• Stealth Cam
• DU-HA
• Big Green Targets
• Epic
• PSE
• Tru-Fire
• Redneck blinds
• Hornady
• American Hunter
• Innerloc
• Walker’s

For more information, to see before and after images, and to watch how the projects were completed, visit bobcat.com/createandconserve or go to the Bobcat Facebook page at facebook.com/BobcatCompany.

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