COVID isn’t over, but Montanans and Montana land trusts are increasingly over COVID.
Montana land trusts continue to exercise caution and follow state and local pandemic guidelines, but with Montana COVID cases dropping more and more MALT members are expanding outdoor — and even indoor — events as they adjust to new event opportunities and more acceptance for group gatherings.
Prickly Pear Land Trust announced earlier this week that — as its Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run and Challenge runs through June 1 — the PPLT Harvest Moon Banquet and Auction will take place live and in-person at the Kleffner Ranch on Sept. 16. More details will be announced soon, but Harvest Moon will offer PPLT supporters and community members to gather in person, with an online alternative, to participate in the event.
Everywhere from Sandpoint to Bozeman, and places in between, land trusts are slowly opening up more opportunities for in-person connections. In addition to holding a recent in-person staff retreat, Gallatin Valley Land Trust and Bozeman Health are leading a remarkable series of Discovery Walks (with participation limited and RSVPs encouraged, and social distancing in place) now through the end of June. From the GVLT website: “This year, we’re working with Montana Outdoor Science School, Sacajawea Audubon Society, and more to bring fun, educational, outdoor activities the whole family can enjoy. New to Bozeman? Interested in discovering new trails? Need a spring activity for the kids? Curious about water, geography, yoga, plants, trail running, or birds? We have a Discovery Walk for you!”
Kaniksu Land Trust has a multitude of upcoming in-person events scheduled, including Birds & Burritos on June 5, Folk School Jamboree on June 12, Let’s Go Birding on June 19 and Pairings in The Pines on July 8. In addition, the Kaniksu Folk School has a full schedule of 2021 events and activities set for community members.
Flathead Land Trust recently held small-group in-person natural resource tours, and its August 19 summer fundraising event, The Land Affair, will be held largely outdoors and in person.
Five Valleys Land Trust will hold its first Hands on the Land volunteering event on Saturday, June 5, to celebrate National Trails Day. The event starts at 2:00 PM and will be held at the Rock Creek Confluence property, and volunteers will help “spruce up” the universal access trail.
More and more Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation chapter banquets are being held in-person and Bitter Root Land Trust is partnering with Art Focus to hold “Plein Aire Under the Big Sky” to bring conservation and art together on August 20-22. Artists will participate in a paint-out at Severson’s Flying E Ranch, located east of Stevensville in the Burnt Fork. This historic cattle ranch was conserved in 2011 by Dan and Debbie Severson in partnership with the Bitter Root Land Trust. Scenic views of the Bitterroot Mountains can be seen from the hayfields that both cattle and wildlife call home.