Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation continues to make an impact on keeping Montana’s outdoors accessible and safe for all of us to enjoy.
Jane Ratzlaff, interim executive director, relays that our outdoor lands in Montana hold a deep connection to whoever walks them. Residents and visitors alike enjoy Montana for its wide range of outdoor amenities from a simple walk to capturing wildlife on camera to an exciting fishing or hunting trip. Conservationists know that keeping a healthy balance between wildlife, humans and industry is critical to maintaining the integrity of this last best place. That is why they support the Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation in helping to keep that balance.
Through private philanthropy, the Legacy Foundation contributed over $300,000 to outdoor projects in 2015. These included:
- Educational initiatives at Lone Pine State Park, Teller Wildlife Refuge, Montana Wild, Citizen Science programs, Watershed days, Bear Fairs and Becoming an Outdoor Woman programs. In addition, the seasonal biologists and interns we funded provided boots on the ground education by presenting to numerous organizations, working one on one with residents and visitors in living with carnivores such as our magnificent grizzly bear and conducting bear fairs and visiting schools.
- Hands on research to support better management decisions for species such as Peregrine falcons, elk, mountain lions and grizzlies. Solid data helps support decisions for habitat restoration and understanding the importance of connectivity corridors. One of our exciting projects is studying a more conducive way to implement electric fences to keep target wildlife at bay while allowing free flow of other wildlife.
- Wetlands projects in Big Fork and Boyer-Roman Ranch not only helped protect critical habitats but allow people to access and enjoy the abundance of wildlife that frequent these area. As Trust Manager for the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust, we take great pride in having a small role in preserving acres of lands each year for all Montanans to access and enjoy. We cannot bond with the outdoors without such access.
Our goals for 2016 include bringing the Montana Wild Education program to schools and communities throughout Montana, expanding our monitoring and research programs to include such species as harlequin ducks and fisheries, and continuing the boots on the ground work with grizzlies, lions and wolves through Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Chair Dennis Konopatzke says: “As a native Montanan, I really only recognized the extent of Montana’s outdoor treasures when I lived in distant places. Too often we take what we have for granted until it is no longer there. We simply have to work together to keep Montana the special landscape it is.”
(Press release via Montana Outdoor Legacy Foundation)