In January of this year, Five Valleys said goodbye to one of its own. After a decade of service to the conservation lands of western Montana, our longtime Stewardship Director, Ryan Chapin, moved on to an exciting opportunity at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Ryan began by volunteering in the Five Valleys office, back when we were located above Office City in downtown Missoula. Over the next decade, Ryan's good humor and strong work ethic would help shape our stewardship program.
The number of easements that Five Valleys' stewarded grew from 98 to 168 during his tenure, and as Stewardship Director, he was responsible for their management. In that time, we also purchased our first property, the Rock Creek Confluence Property, and then Marshall Mountain and the Lincoln Community River Park afterward. These properties, while full of opportunity, also came with a lot of responsibility. Never one to shy away from hard work if it would yield good results, Ryan took their care seriously, as he did every property that Five Valleys' had promised to protect.
But good stewardship is more than just monitoring the land. Ryan's earnest nature and years of experience helped build partnerships and open doors. He leaves us better than when he found us, and helped us grow along the way.
Thanks, Ryan, and happy trails!