Welcome to Wild Word
MWA continues – and modernizes – a tradition of corresponding with and activating friends on behalf of the wild
Fifty-seven years ago, Ken and Florence Baldwin decided to write a letter to one hundred friends.
At the time, the Northern Pacific Railway was intent on logging the lands the company owned in the Gallatin and Madison drainages, which were intermingled in a checkerboard pattern with public forestlands. Ken and Florence thought long and hard about the grandeur of the Rocky Mountain Front, where they were both raised, and about the beauty of the Gallatin Valley, where they had made their home together. As avid hunters and anglers, they asked themselves whether, in one or two hundred years, the bugling elk, leaping trout, and soaring raptors would exist in the same numbers they had known. Together, they came to the same answer: “You can’t have [wildlife] unless you have a place for them to live.”
On March 28, 1958, 20 Montanans answered the call to action the Baldwins made in their letter – a meeting at Bozeman’s Baxter Hotel. The group included three local outfitters, a state fish and game biologist, and at least one Madison Valley rancher. That afternoon, the group agreed to form an organization dedicated to a “balanced conservation program [that] is essential in the survival of our civilized culture.”
For this reason, we like to say the Montana Wilderness Association was born from one letter, a word on behalf of the wild – a Wild Word, if you will.
Since then, we’ve been at the forefront of creating and expanding all 16 designated wilderness areas in the state and we’ve never ceased to maintain a lively correspondence with our friends. Today, we’re pleased to present a 21st century vehicle for sharing our views, a blog we’re calling Wild Word. Providing high-quality policy analysis, insightful commentary, and thoughtful conservation stories, Wild Word is written by our staff, a dedicated group of folks across the state who care deeply about and know intimately the public lands that surround our communities and make life so special in Montana.
Wild Word has already left its mark.
On March 27, our blog helped break the news that Sen. Steve Daines had cast the deciding vote to sell off Montana’s public lands. Almost 28,000 people read that blog post and reacted with letters and phone calls to the Senator’s office. It helped make public lands transfer a hot-button issue across the state and provided the Senator with good reason to change his position.
This post is a great example of what readers can expect from Wild Word: urgent analysis of the most important conservation issues of our time.
It’s been over a half-century since our founders first met in the Baxter Hotel, and the importance of their mission has only increased over time. We’re not only committed to serving that mission - to protect our wilderness heritage, quiet beauty, and outdoor traditions – but we’re also more determined than ever to expand the network of people who share that mission.
We hope you’ll join us in this work by bookmarking Wild Word on your browser and by regularly visiting our Facebook page, where we have some 23,000 fans, and counting. You can also follow us on Twitter @MWAwildmontana.
- Gabriel Furshong, MWA deputy director