Condon, MT – Community Firewood Day has lived up to its name by becoming a staple in locals’ calendars each October. Swan Valley Connections celebrates the small-but-mighty populus of Condon (a mere 350 people) by hosting an annual volunteer event to provide firewood for people in need in the area. For the last 22 years, Community Firewood Day has provided an average of 20 households with one or more truckload(s) of firewood, delivered and stacked as the resident requests.
Volunteers gather at the SVC Office each year to reacquaint with neighbors, discuss safety protocols, and assign roles. Participants bring their wood splitters, chainsaws, hand axes, and favorite wooding gloves to get to work on the wood decks stored behind the SVC office. The wood used to provide heat through the long winter months comes locally from the valley, most commonly donated by private landowners and local contractors who have excess wood from thinning projects or from major blow down events.
The workday is ceremoniously wrapped up with a delicious meal. Mannix Family Beef has generously sponsored this event for years by donating burger meat, and SVC’s Executive Director, Rebecca Ramsey, takes joy in (wo)manning the grill to feed the well-deserved hunger of the volunteers. It is in these special moments where community members come together to help one another that the love of the valley is felt whole-heartedly. SVC looks forward to this volunteer day each year, as its success in providing for the community and creating a culture of caring for one another is always met with gratitude. Living on a working landscape poses many challenges, but those challenges are made easier to overcome when people work together.
Community Firewood Day will be held on October 6th at the SVC Office (6887 MT 83, Condon, MT) at 9AM. Please contact Mike Mayernik at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 406-754-3137, if you’d like to donate wood, or if you have a splitter to lend for the day.
About Swan Valley Connections
Swan Valley Connections first served the watershed as two separate parent organizations, Northwest Connections and Swan Ecosystem Center, both founded in the 1990s and focused on natural resource conservation and experiential education. The two organizations merged in 2016 to become Swan Valley Connections, a conservation and education nonprofit with a mission to inspire conservation and expand stewardship in the Swan Valley, one of the last intact ecosystems in the lower 48. Our vision is that through exemplary stewardship, this watershed and the adjacent landscapes will remain wild, resilient places where all people are connected to the natural world. We do everything from helping people coexist with bears, to wetland restorations and forest health projects, to assisting landowners with forest health projects, to offering Montana Master Naturalist certification courses and college field programs, to sending artists into the Bob Marshall Wilderness through a partnership called Artist Wilderness Connection, and much more.