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Conservation community launches Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame

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HELENA – A diverse group of Montana state agencies and conservation organizations recently established the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame to honor individuals who contributed to the restoration and conservation of Montana’s fish, wildlife and other outdoor amenities.

Participants in the effort include Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the Montana Historical Society; Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation; the Montana Wildlife Federation; the Montana Wilderness Association; Montana Trout Unlimited and the Cinnabar Foundation. Efforts to include tribal representation are underway.

“The aim of the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame is to capture the stories of the exceptional individuals who, either as volunteers or professionals, nurtured resources essential to Montana’s outdoor heritage,” said Jeff Hagener, director of FWP in Helena.

In a recent letter commending the group’s effort, Gov. Steve Bullock noted that creating a Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame “is a good way to begin capturing and teaching the personal stories that made these treasures of our state happen.”

Representatives of the founding groups have been meeting monthly to assemble a list of potential inaugural nominees, which includes citizens, government officials, hunters and anglers, farmers and ranchers; as well as people who have worked to protect everything from wilderness and water quality to fish habitat, big game, and endangered species. The founders are planning an event to announce the first class of Hall of Fame inductees in December 2014.

“Today’s treasured wild nature was restored from what was once the wildlife boneyard of 19th century America,” said Jim Posewitz, also founding board member of the Cinnabar Foundation, who led the effort. “The Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame will capture, preserve and teach the stories of the men and women whose conservation ethic helped protect Montana’s quiet beauty and grandeur for the benefit of future generations.”

The founders envision a process where people from across Montana will nominate people who reflect the state’s diverse heritage of resource conservation and stewardship. The group is also seeking funding to help ensure that the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame remains broad-based and representative.

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