Governor Steve Bullock announced the formation of a new Parks in Focus Commission, a group tasked with strengthening and funding Montana’s State Parks system. The effort will involve some members of the land trust community: Mark Aagenes, director of external affairs for The Nature Conservancy in Montana will serve on the commission, and Deb Love (former Trust for Public Land director) is an advisor and coordinator for the effort.
The proposal to name an unnamed Madison Mountain Range peak after Alex Diekmann passed the House on Jan. 16 by a 400-3 vote. Next stop is the President’s desk! See the link and watch Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte introduce the bill on the House floor. Alex lost his battle with cancer on Feb. 1, 2016.
The Montana Association of Land Trusts film “On the Shoulders of Giants: The Story of Montana Private Land Conservation” is now broadly available for online viewing. The MALT film, produced in 2016, tells the story of Montana’s private land conservation pioneers and leaders, and about the value and benefits that flow to Montana’s economy, outdoor recreation, conservation, agriculture, and way of life from the work of Montana’s land trusts and landowners. The Eric Ian film has been widely acclaimed after showings throughout Montana and across the country.
The application window for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 2018 Wildlife Leadership Award (WLA) scholarships is now open through March 1. The WLA scholarship program was established in 1991 to “recognize, encourage and promote leadership among future wildlife management professionals.” The scholarships are awarded to undergraduate wildlife students, and carry a $3,000 scholarship and one-year membership to RMEF. All qualifications and application procedures are outlined on the RMEF website.
A Sandpoint Reader newspaper article reports on Kaniksu Land Trust’s successful fundraising efforts to create the Pine Street Woods Community Forest. KLT has raised 75 percent of the project’s $2.1 million goal.
The Montana Land Reliance is sponsoring the 3rd Annual Greater Yellowstone Agricultural Forum on Feb. 7, with doors opening at 9:00 AM, at The Gathering Place at the Lewis & Clark in Three Forks. Forum topics include invasive species, biocontrol of weeds, use of livestock to control weeds, and more. Additional speakers will provide information about their programs and services. For more information contact Kathryn Kelly of MLR at 579-5481 or email@example.com.
In addition to operating as a land trust in the northern Rocky Mountains, The Vital Ground Foundation also funds conservation partners that work to reduce conflicts between bears and people. Last year, Vital Ground’s Conservation Partners Grant Program was extended to Mission, Madison and Big Hole valleys.
Another major step toward the creation of Alex Diekmann Peak: The House Natural Resources Committee passed the Alex Diekmann Designation Act of 2017 on Jan. 10, and the bill will be headed to the House floor for action. The bill, sponsored by Senator Steve Daines and strongly supported by Senator Jon Tester and Congressman Greg Gianforte, has already passed the Senate. A Bozeman Chronicle article reports on passage of the bill and contains quotes of support from all three members of the Montana Congressional Delegation.
Done deal: Five Valleys Land Trust, NRCS and its ALE program, and the Open Cross Ranch partner-up to conserve 5,000 acres of prime ranch ground in the Flint Creek Valley.
Dillon ranch family, The Nature Conservancy in Montana, and the NRCS team up for agriculture conservation and ranch operation stability.