President Donald Trump on Jan. 31 signed legislation introduced and supported by the Montana Congressional Delegation to name a Madison Mountain Range peak in honor of land trust community leader Alex Diekmann. Alex was a conservation project specialist with The Trust for Public Land based in Bozeman and worked throughout the state to make Montana a better place. Two years ago today Alex lost his battle with cancer. MALT extends a sincere thank you to Senator Steve Daines, Senator John Tester, Congressman Greg Gianforte, Alan Front of Conservation Pathways, and everyone who made this achievement possible.
The Jan. 30 Billings Gazette editorial based on the eighth annual Colorado College “Conservation in the West“ poll ends with this statement: Eighty-two percent of Montanans call themselves conservationists, a larger proportion than ever before in the Colorado Poll. All members of our congressional delegation should consider that viewpoint.
Five Valleys Land Trust has worked with landowners Elon Gilbert and Susie Miller to conserve 155 acres of prime agricultural lands in the Jocko Valley. Susie Miller and Elon Gilbert have stewarded the land here for over 20 years. The Miller-Gilbert-Jocko conservation easement is bordered by protected or Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal lands, increasing its conservation value and providing habitat connectivity for the area’s vibrant wildlife, including eagles, black bears and grizzly bears. The land has long been used for agriculture and the National Resource Conservation Service deems 90% of the land as Prime if Irrigated.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle’s Jan. 28 editorial touts the benefits of the voter-approved $15 million measure that passed in 2012 … community walking trails, Story Mill Community Park, soccer fields, new dog park, and creek restored to its natural course. The editorial ends with: “Many years from now, Bozemanites will look back with gratitude to all who have participated in this extraordinarily successful effort.”
From the eighth annual Colorado College “Conservation in the West“ poll: “In state-by-state reviews, Montana topped that list with 82 percent self-identifying as conservationist.”
Prickly Pear Land Trust’s Lanie White is featured in Freehub Magazine’s Montana Treasures short video on mountain biking, freedom, and empowerment. In the fall of 2017, FreeHub Magazine released a series called “Montana Treasures”. This project features a selection of individuals within Montana’s mountain bike community “who are constantly striving to progress the sport”, whether it be through trail advocacy, trail building, land management, retail, or in other ways. Featured here is local rider, Prickly Pear Land Trust employee, and Girls Thrive volunteer Lanie White and her story of empowerment and freedom on the bike.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has released USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill policy goals and priorities. Two of the stated priorities are: 1) Ensure that voluntary conservation programs balance farm productivity with conservation benefits so the most fertile and productive lands remain in production while land retired for conservation purposes favor more environmentally sensitive acres. 2) Support conservation programs that ensure cost-effective financial assistance for improved soil health, water and air quality and other natural resource benefits.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s membership grew for the ninth straight year to a new total of 227,650 members, a 50 percent increase since 2008.
Kris Kumlien, president of the Madison-Gallatin Chapter of Trout Unlimited, writes in a Bozeman Daily Chronicle guest column that the Gallatin County open space programs have been valuable for local residents and the local economy. “The Gallatin County Open Lands Program has a proven track record of success, but funds for the program have all been expended. It’s time to renew our commitment to this program and our future. Doing so will ensure we afford our children and grandchildren the same opportunities I enjoyed as a kid growing up in this special place.”
Land trust field staff field staff (land trust stewardship and agency field staff) who work with private forest land owners are invited to register for a Forest Stewardship Workshop for Professionals, set for April 9-11 at the UM Lumbrecht Experimental Forest. The bulk of the seminar will focus on familiarizing attendees with the elements of stewardship plans and reviewing the skills needed to produce one. Ryan Lutey of The Vital Ground Foundation will be discussing how Vital Ground integrates forest stewardship/management in its easements, specifically emphasizing the function and utility of forest stewardship plans in the long-term process of monitoring and enforcing easements. See the brochure for more details. The three-day workshop is provided at a pretty amazing rate of $110 thanks to significant underwriting from The Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and MSU Extension.