Montana's landscape is a complex, constantly changing patchwork of federal, state, private and tribal ownership. Within these ownerships are many kinds of designations, including wilderness, parks, wildlife areas, recreation areas, and conservation easements. Because information on land stewardship is critical to effective land management, the Montana Natural Heritage Program began integrating ownership and management data into a land stewardship mapping data system in 1997.The goal of the Montana Land Stewardship Mapping Project was to manage a single, statewide digital data set that incorporates information from both public and private entities. The project assembled information on land ownership and management, conservation easements, state and federal agencies, and land trusts on a regular basis, with a major database update occurring annually.Over the years, others have become involved in managing the data, the data schema has evolved, and the data have been continually updated to correct errors and to incorporate changes in land ownership and management. Each version of the data that has been available on the Montana State Library web site has been archived and are available on request. The data are available for 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013.The initial 1998 version of the data is a single layer that was derived mostly from printed USGS and BLM 1:100,000 scale land ownership maps. Land ownership is shown for large parcels owned by public or tribal agencies and for lands owned by the Nature Conservancy. Polygons that were within specially designated or managed lands such as wilderness, national parks, national monuments, wildlife refuges, and state parks have their administrative names in an attribute field.The 2001 version of the data introduced information on the owners of conservation easements and conservation leases. New coding systems for land ownership and designated land were introduced. Lands owned by conservation groups and the Plum Creek Timber Company were added to the layer. The layer does not have the administrative names of designated or managed areas.In 2003 more information about easements and leases was added to the layer, along with the administrative names of designated and managed areas. Names for additional administrative area types such as National Forests and land offices were added to the layer. Using the "Regions" technology for Arc/Info coverage data sets, a separate management layer was extracted from the data to depict each administrative, management, and designated area as a single polygon regardless of ownership boundaries.In 2007 the data were simplified by separating the stewardship layer into layers for ownership, easements, leases, and managed areas.In 2008 the leases layer was discontinued due to insufficient resources to maintain it. The Montana Department of Revenue and the Montana Department of Administration's Base Map Service Center began managing conservation easement data in response to a legislative audit report and subsequent new legislation regarding the recording of conservation easement information.In 2010 the coordinate geometry of the data were replaced with coordinates from the Montana Cadastral dataset wherever possible in cooperation with the Base Map Service Center. Tribal, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Plum Creek lands were removed due to insufficient resources to maintain them in the layer and the ownership layer was split into separate layers for public lands and private conservation lands. The collection of data was renamed the Montana Land Management Database.In 2011, the Base Map Service Center joined with staff from the Natural Resource Information System to form Montana State Library Geographic Information program. GeoInfo began to take an increasingly active role in the management the layers of the Montana Land Management Database in partnership with the Heritage Program. In 2013 a separate layer for Plum Creek lands was added.Map features in this data set are not intended as a legal depiction of public or private surface land ownership boundraries and should not be used in place of a survey conducted by a licensed land surveyor. Similarly, map features do not imply public access to any lands.