Entering my tenth year with Five Valleys this autumn, I have never been more proud of the accomplishments and opportunities we are able to share in this newsletter. Whether you measure success by acres or community impact, we are completing and embarking upon many of our biggest projects ever. Whether you love fertile farmland, critical wildlife corridors, or providing children with permanent access to Montana’s rivers and streams, you have reason to celebrate. To learn more now, download our 2016 Fall Newsletter (PDF).
With help from many partners we continue to restore our Rock Creek Confluence Property while expanding public access and educational programs. Here we are reminded that river parks change lives, which is why we are so excited to create a new Lincoln Community River Park in Lincoln, Montana. This new acquisition offers the town’s kids safe, permanent access to the world famous Blackfoot River for the very first time (please see page 9).
Embarking on our Mount Dean Stone initiative exactly 20 years after protecting Mount Jumbo is almost prophetic. These projects’ paralleled challenges and opportunities have been striking for a new generation of staff embarking on a once-in-a-generation endeavor (see pages 1 and 3).
Efforts to protect Mount Jumbo and Mount Dean Stone were strongly influenced by our community’s passion for outdoor recreation. South of Mount Dean Stone our northern Sapphire Mountains conservation easement (5,800 acres) is focused on Montana wildlife, which depends on vast connected habitat for survival. The easement was completed as we went to press. Please visit our website to learn more about the diverse wildlife that use this corridor and the importance of maintaining connected natural areas between the Bitterroot-Selway and Northern Continental Divide Ecosystems.
Our board met for their annual retreat this fall to assess progress on our Enduring Connections Initiative—our promise to you to protect important places, connect people to them, and maintain our commitment to excellence. We hope you agree that we are making good on that promise. The board foresees changes on the horizon that they are resolved to overcome, including indications that the recent lull in development pressure is coming to an end in western Montana.
I recently asked a long time supporter what she wanted Five Valleys to look like 10 years from now. She paused and then replied, “I still want it to be the place that people go when they want to accomplish something that seems impossible.” I am grateful to be part of a team—our community of supporters, our partners, and our board and staff—that is thought of this way. I am also grateful that you are on the team. I am confident that we will not only seize the opportunities in front of us today but we will be ready to take on seemingly impossible challenges that we might face in the future.
By Grant Kier, Five Valleys Land Trust Executive Director
Header photo by Mark Mesenko
Bottom photo by Five Valleys staff