Tag Archives: Montana Wilderness Association

2015 Wilderness Speaker Series begins Feb. 5

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation and Montana Wilderness Association are doing their wilderness speaker series again this year. Here are the essentials, as posted to the Missoulian . . .

…The series will explore topics involving the importance of wilderness for wildlife populations, recreation and the management of these lands.

The free series will be presented at the Flathead Valley Community College’s Art & Technology Building, Room 139. Lectures will be held monthly from February through April from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Here are the dates and topics:

• Feb. 5: “Wilderness Management 101” with Deb Mucklow, district ranger and Bob Marshall Complex manager.

• March 5: “The Wild is Consequential: Grizzlies, People and Sharing the Land.” Steve Primm will share stories and experiences working on grizzly and wolf recovery around Yellowstone National Park. He is founder and director of the nonprofit People and Carnivores.

• April 2: “A Walk on the Wild Side: A 200-mile Hike in the Spirit of Bob Marshall” with Chris Peterson, a reporter for the Hungry Horse News and publisher of Glacier Magazine. Last year, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Peterson partially retraced Marshall’s 288-mile hike through what is now the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

See bmwf.org or wildmontana.org for more information.

MWA Winter Wilderness Walks schedule announced

The MWA just posted their Winter Wilderness Walks schedule for 2015. Here’s the core information from the email announcement. . .

It’s that time of year again! Beginning this January, the Montana Wilderness Association is offering 57 guided snowshoe walks across some of the state’s most magnificent backcountry.

Now in its twelfth season, MWA’s Winter Wilderness Walks program offers hikers of all ages and experience levels an opportunity to participate in a traditional recreation opportunity while enjoying Montana’s quiet beauty and treasured wild places. Winter Wilderness Walks are also a great way to meet new people, explore and view wildlife in a winter setting.

All outings are free and open to the public, but participants need to preregister by visiting wildmontana.org/walks and selecting the “Preregister for this walk” link under each walk.

MWA will provide snowshoes for participants if necessary.

Rally to protect public lands from privatization

Legislatures, both state and federal, have a long history of giving serious consideration to bad ideas. The latest in the list as far as Montana is concerned is the movement to demand that federal lands be turned over to state control. The states, in turn, would auction management of these lands off to private control.

Yep, that’s right. They’re talking about privatizing your public lands. Someone has been smoking that wacky terbaccy, I guess.

There are several things you can do about this.

  • Get hold of your local state senator and representative and explain that you really don’t like the idea of giving away to private ownership the lands where you work and recreate.
  • Read John Gatchell’s excellent “Public Lands in Private Hands?” article. Follow the links and instructions he provides to comment on the spurious land privatization “study” the legislature has posted for public comment. The deadline for comments is September 16.
  • The Montana Wilderness Association (who has really taken the point on this land privatization issue), along with a bunch of other organizations, is holding a rally in Helena on September 27, which just happens to be both National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day. Show up and help folks explain to our legislature that giving away our public lands to private concerns is a Really Bad Idea. For more information, see the National Public Lands Day Rally Facebook page.

Brian Sybert: Lessons from the Scapegoat Wilderness

Brian Sybert, executive director of the Montana Wilderness Association, has a pretty good op-ed in Hungry Horse News supporting the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act . . .

In 1972, nearly 240,000 acres of federal public land lying between Montana’s iconic Rocky Mountain Front and storied Blackfoot River Valley became the first acres in the nation to enter the wilderness system at the behest of ordinary citizens.

The story of the Scapegoat Wilderness has influenced every effort to protect wild country during the past 40-plus years in Montana and throughout the nation.

And it’s a great story, full of colorful characters and bugling elk. On some levels it is also a heartbreaking tale of sacrifice and the heavy emotional burden that comes with standing up for what you believe is right.

Read more . . .

Wilderness and… 700 Miles of Canada’s Churchill River

The Montana Wilderness Association announces their final presentation in this years’ Wilderness Speaker Series . . .

Thursday, April 10, 2014

7:00 p.m.

Flathead Valley Community College

Arts and Technology Bldg, Room 139

On June 22, 2012, three days after retiring from the Forest Service, Jonathan Klein slid his canoe onto the waters of Canada’s Churchill River and began a 700-mile solo canoe trip that would take him from Saskatchewan to the Hudson Bay. Jonathan’s seven weeks on the Churchill tested him mentally and physically, nearly got him killed by black bear, and gave him ample time to reflect upon the value and meaning of wilderness.

Please join us for this final presentation in our Wilderness Speaker Series.

Frank Vitale’s “Leaving a Legacy” presentation

Frank Vitale was one of the panelists at last Thursday’s MWA “Wilderness Speaker Series” presentation. Here’s a transcript of his remarks.

Nicely done; recommended reading . . .


It was probably 20 years ago I planned a pack trip out of Cave Mountain up in the Teton drainage. Our destination was “as far as we could go in about 8-10 days.” We had to travel over Route Creek Pass and I had never been on that trail before. So I decided to give Roland Cheek a call. He told me to “Come on over and bring your map. It just so happens Route Creek Pass is one of my favorite trips in that part of the Wilderness.” So after a great visit and a drink or two, Roland marked on my map the best places to camp with good water and good grass. He didn’t steer us wrong.

I don’t think I ever told you how much I enjoyed reading your newspaper column, “Wild Trails & Tall Tales,” from back in the early 80s, so while I’m thinking of it now I just want to say  it’s an honor to sit on the same side of the table with you.


In our discussion about wilderness, politics always seems to come up. It’s sad, but true, but anything in life that’s worthwhile never comes easy. This is also true for wilderness.

The wild country we have today is by no accident. It had to be fought for. At time things got ugly. Wilderness and politics are wrapped together and I suppose it will always be that way.

But spending nearly my whole life in wild country I guess I’ve learned to let the heart speak first. It was not always like that, and when I was younger it was easy to get mad as hell and frustrated.

But youth being no easy keeper, the words for wilderness come a whole lot easier. I would tell the young folks that everybody needs a hero, a mentor; someone to look up to. My advice for you young folks is to find your heroes and learn their stories.

From early on I had many heroes. Way too many to even have time to mention. Some of my heroes are even probably sitting in this room tonight.

So I will tell you just a few of mine and briefly tell their stories…

Continue reading Frank Vitale’s “Leaving a Legacy” presentation

‘Passing Wilderness on to the Next Generation’ presentation tomorrow evening

Our own Frank Vitale will be a panelist at the next MWA “Wilderness Speaker Series” presentation. Here’s the official announcement . . .

Wilderness Speaker Series
Leaving a Legacy:
Passing Wilderness on to the Next Generation
Thursday, March 13, 2014
7:00 p.m.
Flathead Valley Community College
Arts & Technology Building, Room 139
Kalispell, MT

Our third presentation in our Wilderness Speaker Series will be this Thursday night! Join MWA and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation for an insightful intergenerational panel discussion that will encourage audience participation.

Panel participants:

  • Roland Cheek, retired wilderness outfitter and writer
  • Chris Ryan, retired USFS Region 1 Wilderness Manager
  • Frank Vitale, farrier and wilderness advocate
  • Rebecca Boslogh, Student leader in the University of Montana Wilderness Association student group
  • Jonson England, high school student and BMWF summer intern

See you there!

Second Annual Wilderness Speaker Series focuses on future

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the passing of the Wilderness Act, the Flathead Valley Community College will be hosting a four-part series on “50 Years of Wilderness:  What Will the Next 50 Years Look Like?”   Presentations will focus on the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, the crown jewel of the Federal Wilderness System. The series is sponsored by the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation (BMWF) and the Montana Wilderness Association (MWA).

The first of the series, “Wilderness Turns 50 – Who Cares?”, will be on Thursday, January 23 at 7:00 p.m. The presenter will be Rick Potts, Refuge Manager, from Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.

The lectures will be held on the FVCC campus, 777 Grandview Drive, Kalispell, in the Arts & Technology Building, Room 139, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.  There is no charge; everyone welcome.

Here is the full schedule. (Note that NFPA member Frank Vitale is on the March 13 panel.):

January 23:
Wilderness Turns 50 – Who Cares?
Rick Potts, Refuge Manager, Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.

February 13:
Climate Change Effects on Landscapes and Ecosystems of Western Montana
Bob Keane, U.S. Forest Service, Missoula FireResearch Station

March 13:
Leaving a Legacy; Passing on Wilderness to the Next Generation
Panel discussion between elders and youth.
Panelists: Roland Cheek, retired wilderness outfitter and writer; Dave Owen; retired USFS wilderness ranger; Frank Vitale, Farrier and wilderness advocate; Rebecca Boslow, University of Montana student; Jonson England, high school student and BMWF summer intern

April 10:
Hair Raising Encounters with Wildlife in Wilderness
Jonathan Klein, U.S.F.S. retired Wilderness and Recreation manager (34years) on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest