July is “Montana Open Land Month”

Statewide celebration through the month of July features a variety of activities, programs and events designed to recognize the value of open land to the Montana way of life and to Montana’s economy and landscape.

 “If there’s one thing all Montanans can agree on, it’s that open land–our forests, agricultural lands, vast landscapes and our freedom to roam–are absolutely unbeatable. That’s what Montana Open Land Month is all about,” said Kate Wright, Montana Open Land Month program manager.

 “Open land fuels Montana’s wood products industry, multi-billion-dollar tourism and agricultural sectors, and entices entrepreneurs to locate their businesses here,” added Glenn Marx of the Montana Association of Land Trusts. “Open land provides foods that nourish our body, recreational opportunities that nourish our spirit, scenic wonders that nourish our souls and economic opportunities that nourish our pocketbooks.

 “What is open land? It’s undeveloped land that grows food and fiber, provides outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat, and generates fun and economic benefit,” said Marx. “Yeah, Montana’s got a lot of it. And that’s good. What is Montana Open Land Month? Recognition of the importance and value of open land. It’s a pretty simple concept, really.”

Montana Open Land Month offers plenty of ways for people to become involved in the celebration, including:

• Hosting, sponsoring or attending an Open Land Month event.

• Sharing the Big Sky on the Montana Open Land Month website through photos, art and more.

• Joining the Open Land Month social media blitz and follow the action on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

• Browsing the Open Land Month reading list for great Montana writers and writing.

• Getting outside to enjoy and appreciate Montana’s outdoors.

Across Montana, local events celebrate Montana Open Land Month and invite you to attend. Events include:

• Bob Marshall Music Festival, July 14-16, All Day, Seeley Lake Festival Grounds, Bob Marshall Music Festival

• Native Plant Garden Work and Learn Day, July 14/July 21/July 28, 4-6 p.m., Fort Missoula Native Plant Garden, Montana Natural History Center

• Bitterroot Trail Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, July 16, noon-1 p.m., Travelers’ Rest State Park, Missoula County Parks, Trails and Open Lands Program 

• Montana Bicycle Celebration, July 15-18, all day, Missoula, Adventure Cycling Association

• Tour of the Bitterroot, July 17, 7 a.m., Hamilton, Bitter Root Land Trust

• Revive and Thrive, July 24, 10 a.m.– 5 p.m., Tuppers Lake, The Nature Conservancy

Governor Bullock has officially recognized July 2016 as Montana Open Land Month.

 “Montana Open Land Month is about fun,” said Wright. “It’s about open land’s economic importance. It’s about celebrating what Montanans share in common: an incredible place to live and work and recreate.”

“The goal of Open Land Month is to unite us in our appreciation of what open land means to us individually and what it means to us collectively,” said Marx. “What we fail to appreciate we tend to take for granted, and what we take for granted we tend to lose, so it’s good to unite in appreciation of open land.”

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