As a member of the fifth generation of a ranching family in Wyoming, I grew up with a profound respect for the land around us and its stewardship. My family took me to public lands including national forests, parks, and state parks. We fished in rivers, hiked beautiful trails and gained a love for nature. I went to college in Montana where I discovered the Big Sky State, and became involved with outdoor summer and winter programs in the mountains of the Gallatin Range and now reside in Ekalaka, Montana. Medicine Rocks State Park, with its 2,000 year record of human interaction with the land is a short drive up the road and the Custer Gallatin National Forest a step outside the door.
As a rancher, I understand the need to care for the land around us and to safeguard this beautiful resource that I am lucky to call home. As a museum professional, I work with partners in the Bureau of Land Management, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the National Forest Service. Together we present the history of the land and those that have roamed upon it for millions of years to the next generation who may one day grow up to be scientists, historians, ranchers, and teachers.
It is Montana’s responsibility to invest in caring for our heritage and instilling appreciation for natural resources through public land access is the first step. We must strive to find sustainable solutions for public outdoor spaces, a balance and respect for local agriculture, and communicate the stories of the past.