WildFest 2017

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WildFest: Celebrate Montana's wild places.

Save the date for a full weekend of outdoor adventure, live music, hikes, family activities, gear demos, food and drinks

WildFest 2017

September 8-9, 2017

Northern Rockies Heritage Center
and Fort Missoula Regional Park
Missoula, MT

Friday, September 8

An afternoon of conservation stories and activist training, with an evening reception with guest speaker Pete Fromm and live auction.
Please purchase your entry ticket here. 

Saturday, September 9

Afternoon activities for kids and gear demos, plus an evening of foot-stompin' music, local food, and craft brews.


Visit Destination Missoula for where to stay. 


Learn more about how you can help with this fantastic event. Sign up here!


Thank you to our event partners.


Friday, September 8th at Fort Missoula

Heritage Hall


Northern Rockies Heritage Hall, Fort Missoula

30 Fort Missoula Rd
Missoula, MT 59804
Directions here

Parking is available around the grass circle at the Heritage Center, along with an adjacent parking area behind Lolo National Forest headquarters.


Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Lunch and Socializing

Swap adventure stories, explore new trails, and enjoy some of the region’s best music at this year’s WildFest. The Friday activities will start at noon and lunch will be provided by nearby The Trough Deli

12:45 - 1:30 p.m.

Welcome to WildFest

Our Western Montana Field Director will welcome you to Missoula with a photographic journey of the Bitterroots and Sapphires, the Great Burn, and the headwaters of the Blackfoot. Hear how we’re working to protect these wildlands and glean ideas for your “must see” adventure list this weekend.

1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Spend 20 minutes getting up-close-and-personal by choosing three different Montana regions from the seven that make up MWA. Hear about the latest conservation strategies (and maybe borrow a few ideas for your part of the state), see some gorgeous pictures, and maybe even get a few tips for your next adventure. This is a great chance to get a taste of a few places you’ve never been or hear what’s going on to protect your favorite wild places.

2:45 - 3:15 p.m.

The Public Lands Rollercoaster

The last 12 months have been quite a ride for public lands, but thanks to all our work during the state legislative session, innovative communications strategies, and a whole lot of grassroots activism, we’re staying ahead of the curve. Learn about the bumps in the road we’ve seen over the last year, how our members have been making a difference, and what the road looks like ahead.

3:15 - 4:30 p.m.

Activism 406

These days, there are lots of ways to take action to protect the places you love: call a legislator, write a letter to the editor of your local paper, sign a petition, share events on Facebook, speak at a public meeting, and more. But how does it all work? Who’s really listening? And how are these actions most effective? Get training on three ways to make sure your views are heard!

4:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Closing remarks

Close out the afternoon with lively conversation and a focus on what you can do to help protect public lands in Montana.

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Drinks, Appetizers, and Silent Auction

Come mingle with fellow Montana Wilderness Association members and wildlands supporters. With the $35 entrance fee, you’ll have access to a wide range of appetizers and locally crafted beer, wine, cider, and non-alcoholic drinks. Refresh your gear, plan a night on the town, or get ready for your next adventure when you bid on our silent auction packages, which range from an REI gear package, to dinner for two at local Missoula restaurants, to tickets to the Missoula Symphony. The wide range of items will be sure to meet everyone’s interests!

Please purchase tickets for the evening social HERE!

7:00 - 7:15 p.m. 

Opening Remarks and Welcome 

Are you ready to laugh and learn with Pete Fromm? Or hoping to win some of our unique and one-of-a-kind live auction items? Either way, this evening will shape up to be an execiting one for everyone involved!

7:15 – 8:00 p.m.

Pete Fromm

Pete Fromm is a five-time winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award for his novels If Not For This, As Cool as I Am, and How All This Started, his story collection Dry Rain, and the memoir Indian Creek Chronicles. His second memoir, The Names of the Stars: A Life in the Wilds, was named an Honor Book in the 2016 Montana Book Awards. 

8:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Live Auction

The live auction will feature ten experiences you won’t find anywhere else. Packages include a Yellowstone cabin and one-on-one photography lessons, a  meal from Dropstone Outfitters dropped off at your campsite, a scenic flight with Neptune Aviation, and other unforgettable experiences.



Saturday, September 9 at Fort Missoula Regional Park

Hikes (All morning activities are CANCELLED due to smoke)

We regret to inform you that all activities the morning of Saturday the 9th are cancelled due to smoke. This includes MWA Wilderness Walks, Birding Walks, and Ninemile Ranger Station Activities. For those who signed up for these activities, you should be receiving an email from the leader of each activity informing you of these changes. We too were looking forward to all of these unique activities and hope you understand that this was a very tough decision for us to make. 

HOWEVER, the festivities in the afternoon and evening are still on! So swing on by Bella Vista Pavilion at Fort Missoula at 3pm for amazing demos, cool drinks, great food, and foot-stomping music. You can read more about the festivities below!

Afternoon and Evening Festivities

Fort Missoula


Bella Vista Pavilion, Fort Missoula

3401-3499 South Ave W
Missoula, MT 59804
Directions here

Parking is available in the large lot on Guidon Avenue next to Bella Vista Pavilion, along with additional parking along 36th Avenue.


3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Gear Demos, Mule Packing , & Fun for the Kids

Get ready for a day filled with gear demos, food trucks, and great local brews at Fort Missoula Regional Park’s brand new Bella Vista Pavilion! Activities will include:
 - packing demos from Montana Backcountry Horsemen
 - raptor presentations from Wild Skies Raptor Center
 - REI gear demos that include navigation, camp stoves, water filtration, and hiking and backpacking
 - wilderness skills from Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation
 - alcohol stove demo from MWA's very own Backcountry Bob
 - fly fishing casting lessons from Trout Unlimited
 - backcountry first aid presentations 
 - kids activities that include dissecting owl pellets, an insectarium, carnival games, and writing & drawing activities

Movie Screenings
Mini Pavilion

Bud's Place
Please join us at 2:30 p.m. for a showing of "Bud's Place", a documentary celebrating the life of Bud Moore, one of the first dozen conservationists inducted into the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame. This year-long effort of documentary filmmaker George Sibley will be introduced by Bud's son, Bill, and will follow Bud's journey as a young man graduating from Lolo’s Woodman School during the depression, through his service as the deputy director of the Forest Service’s fire and aviation program in Washington, D.C., to his retirement on "Coyote Forest" where he continued his conservation efforts for Montana.

International Wildlife Film Festival Presents...
MWA is proud to partner with IWFF, an annual wildlife and conservation themed film festival held each April in Missoula that draws in hundreds of filmmakers, scientists, conservationists and enthusiasts and is housed at The Roxy Theater. Films will be run on a 10-20 minute rotation, each with a brief intro followed by Q&A sessions. 

Plenty of Food and Drink

Be sure to come hungry because food trucks will be on site with tasty options catering to multiple dietary needs.
 - pulled pork sandwiches and wraps from The Trough
 - hot dogs from Covered Wagon
 - bison burgers from Bitterroot Bison
 - Thai food from Big Thai Country
 - kettle corn from KornUtopia
 - ice cream from Sweet Peaks 

We're also excited to announce that MWA has partnered with Great Burn Brewing for the Go Wild(Fest) Pale Ale, available at the brewery's taproom and during WildFest! Other alcoholic beverages will be sold by Badlander Catering, including three brews from Big Sky Brewing, Western Cider, and Bota wine. Non-alcohlic beverages will also be provided. 

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.


Hailing from Missoula, MT after getting their start in Chicago, IL, Mendelssohn brings a fiercely original sound to the stage. The band forges an unlikely but exhilarating mix of folk-rock and ‘70s-era power pop with the layered arrangements and sophisticated songwriting reminiscent of acts like Wilco, Band of Horses, and Grizzly Bear.


6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Holy Smokes & The Godforsaken Rollers

Check out Holy Smokes & The Godforsaken Rollers, a multi-instrumentalist duo whose roots and hearts lie with country and delta blues. Be sure to enjoy their old-time porch music with a modern spin!


8:30 – 10 p.m.


Kuinka, a folk band defiant of the label “Americana”, is known for their 2014 debut The Wild North, which propelled the band out of the woods and onto stages across the country and was followed by their 2016 breakout LP The Heartland. After a full day of hikes and adventures, whether you’re ready to sit back on your picnic blanket or dust off your dancing shoes, Kuinka is ready to entertain with tunes from  their recently released EP, Stay Up Late.




Your weekend in Missoula doesn’t have to end with WildFest! Be sure to check out Destination Missoula’s website dedicated to all things Missoula, including their comprehensive list of Things to Do in the city, along with lodging options! Get out there and enjoy one of your final weekends in summer!



Volunteers Needed!

We need volunteers to help us set up, clean up, sell merchandise, assist in the silent auction, and conduct the kids' activities. Volunteers are a crucial aspect of WildFest and we wouldn't be able to pull it off with your time and effort!

You can register for shifts through our Eventbrite site HERE!



Thank you to our event partners:



And special thanks to all those who donated to our live and silent auctions!


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