by Whitney Schwab, Executive Director
As we emerge from this long winter I am reminded of how Montana is growing and changing so quickly. For 51 years we have responded and adapted to how conservation can help meet core community needs, enhance our Montana way of life, and secure opportunities for people and wildlife to thrive. We have done this by being good listeners, partnership builders, and asking thoughtful questions about how our actions today will impact future generations.
This deliberate, collaborative approach is what has helped create much of the beautiful fabric that anchors our western Montana landscapes—the Potomac Valley; the community open spaces that encircle Missoula; the Alberton Gorge and Rock Creek; countless landscape vistas and icons; and 83,000 acres of privately owned land that supports wildlife and agriculture throughout. Knowing that these lands are protected in perpetuity allows western Montana to grow alongside these anchor points. It’s what will help ensure that our culture and character—the very reasons so many of us love this place—remain.
As you’ll see in our Summer 2023 Landmarks Newsletter, we have quite a bit going on that is advancing our promise of perpetuity. We’re thrilled to have wrapped up the Montana Forever Campaign, a capital investment to accelerate the pace of our conservation efforts. Already, these investments are well underway.
As we aim to increase equitable public access on the properties we own, as well as working with our many partners to establish new community open spaces, we are always looking ahead to ensure that decisions made now will also serve the needs of future generations. Our partnerships with private landowners, and the funding opportunities we can bring to the table, are helping families make important decisions about the future of their land and agricultural operations, which in turn helps uphold our Montana way of life.
New seasons bring change, but also anticipation of the future. And there is so much to be excited about with the projects, partnerships, and community-driven initiatives that lie ahead.
Two decades after its inception, Five Valleys' Hands on the Land program remains unique, offering community volunteers the chance to enjoy, support, and help steward private lands.
We are thrilled to announce the completion of our 50th Anniversary $4.5M Montana Forever Campaign! Thanks to over 230 donors, Five Valleys will able to accelerate the pace of our conservation work across Western Montana
Read about the first season of winter wildlife closures, and our work to create of the Mount Dean Stone Community Forest this summer.
From an expanded universal trails network, to historical preservation, to audio interpretation, Five Valleys' efforts at our Confluence property continue to bloom
This March, our own Eric Greenwell traveled to Vietnam to participate in the YSEALI Professional Exchange Program.
Header photo of Hands on the Land volunteers by John Belobraidic
Hands on the Land volunteers by John Belobraidic
Montana Forever photo by Mark Mesenko
Mount Dean Stone photo by Lena Viall
Rock Creek Confluence photo by Five Valleys staff
YSEALI photo by Eric Greenwell