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Sep 02 2020

Why Do I Donate Monthly to MWA?

So I can spend time in our wild places and know they're being protected

I’d like to ask for your help in protecting the landscapes and lifestyles we love by becoming a monthly member of Montana Wilderness Association. 

Public lands and wild places in Montana have served me and my family well as a reliable refuge from the stress of everyday life. We hike, bike, and ski on public land with our children and we cherish the time we spend outdoors together. We feel rejuvenated by our conversations and quiet reflection in wild places; we feel invigorated by our physical activities on and off trail; and we are made whole by spending time away from our built environment in the natural world.

As Montanans, we understand and appreciate how fortunate we are to be able to make these experiences a regular part of our lives.

We also know that we owe a debt of gratitude to those that came before us who worked hard to preserve these places and this way of life for current and future generations.

That’s why I became a member of Montana Wilderness Association, which is working hard every day to protect the public lands and wild places upon which our lifestyles depend. 

As much as I would love to be on the ground protecting these places we cherish so much, I simply do not have the time. My wife and I both work and when we aren’t working we are busy chasing a toddler, getting our 5th grader ready to go back to school, and managing our three dogs. When we do find time for ourselves, we would much rather spend it together outside than in front of a computer writing up a letter to one of our representatives or a comment on a forest management plan. Though we do speak up when we can, I couldn’t possibly give my full attention to every issue and to my family.  

That’s why I support Montana Wilderness Association. I know that they will speak on my behalf on the critical issues concerning public lands and wild places in Montana. 

Montana Wilderness Association speaks for me on the conservation issues that I care about, and my membership amplifies my voice.

The more members Montana Wilderness Association has, the louder our collective voice will be. That’s why I give $1 a day to keep it wild. Will you join with me by giving $10, $20, or $30 per month?

Supercharge your impact

Right now, when you commit to any monthly gift – whether that’s $10, $20, $30, or more – your gift will unlock a $100 donation to MWA thanks to a generous donor. Just 10 people giving monthly will help us unlock an additional $1,000 for our work. 

Donate today ➥

When I give monthly, I know that my values are represented every time MWA staff and volunteers meet with our congressional delegation, write an op-ed, and talk with neighbors. My voice is amplified and heard. 

And I know that I’m part of every success. Do you know what I helped achieve this year by giving monthly? 

As a monthly supporter, you can be part of all this, too. We’ve made great progress over the last year, but there’s lots of work ahead of us. I hope we can count on you to help us turn these upcoming opportunities and challenges into success stories over the coming year.

  • The Bureau of Land Management has plans to make large parcels of Montana’s public lands available to oil and gas companies via non-competitive leases, which will allow corporations to lease public lands for as little as $1.50 per acre. This has the potential to destroy wildlife habitat and lock the public out of recreation opportunities. It’s also a drain on Montana’s economy, and we’re going to have our work cut out if we want to end this leasing process. Senator Tester has introduced a bill that would put an end to non-competitive leasing, but we need to speak up and show our support.
  • The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act would protect key headwaters of the Blackfoot and Clearwater rivers, protect habitat for mountain goats, grizzlies, and wolverines, and add nearly 80,000 acres of Wilderness to the Bob Marshall, Mission Mountains, and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas. It’s a proposal that a vast majority of Montanans support, and we’re going to need your support to give our congressmen no choice but to push it over the finish line.
  • In January, Montana’s state legislature will meet for the first time in two years. I want to make sure they don’t chip away at our public lands, and I want to see more funding for parks, trails, campgrounds, and fishing access sites. Montana Wilderness Association is going to fight for wild public lands at the Capitol every day, and we’ll need you to be there with us. I know that MWA will let me know when I need to show up or hold my representatives accountable.
  • In northwest Montana, timber workers, business owners, and community leaders have come together behind a bold vision that includes 180,000 acres of new Wilderness protections. Montana Wilderness Association is working to ensure that the cedar forests, clear streams, and boulder fields the grizzlies frequent will be there for them. It’s a seriously ambitious proposal, and we’ll need you on our side to make it happen.

We need a movement to make this kind of change. And our movement needs you.

Will you join me in standing up for our wildlands? Will you commit to joining the Wild Bunch, MWA’s group of monthly donors, by giving a monthly gift? Giving just $10, $20, or $30 per month is a small way to make big change.

As a Wild Bunch member, you’ll know your voice is always part of the conversation. Each time MWA meets with our congressional delegation, talks with your county commissioners, or speaks up in the local paper, you’ll be there. Join me as a monthly donor and make sure your voice is heard on important public lands issues, every day of the year.

I am sometimes asked why I think wild places are important. I could say that they sustain our elk and feed our rivers and offer spectacular scenery, which of course they do. But for me, wild places serve as a counterpoint to developed society and offer a perspective that I need in order to feel whole. My family and I venture out into the wild to relax, reflect, and feel alive. 

Most days, however, we aren’t out in the wild. Instead, we are working, raising our children, or engaging with our community in some way. On those days, just knowing that the wild places are out there and that they will be there when we visit next — that’s enough. We are raising our children with these values as well, and though they may grow up and move away, I hope that just knowing that Montana’s wild places are still here will be enough for them until they return.

Keep it wild!

Vlad Kustanovich
Volunteer and Wilderness Advocate

Vlad is a member of MWA's Shining Mountains Chapter and a member of the Wild Bunch, MWA's monthly donor program.

P.S. Our kids and grandkids deserve to know the same kind of wild Montana we’ve enjoyed. You and I can never do it all, but together we can build a movement for a wilder Montana. Surely that wild legacy is worth $10, $20, or $30 a month. Montana’s future generations are counting on us.