OUR MISSION & VISION
The best conservation stories start with a single idea. They develop into history with the foresight and drive of passionate individuals.
The idea for a Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame came when longtime Montana conservationist Jim Posewitz was the banquet speaker for a similar entity in Wyoming in October 2012. Posewitz returned to Montana and tested out his idea with people at The Montana Historical Society and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. In 2013, his drive and passion brought conservation nonprofits, foundations, and state agencies together for the purpose of capturing the stories of and educating the public about conservation heroes throughout Montana’s rich history.
Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame (MOHF) was created to honor individuals, both living and deceased, who made significant and lasting contributions to the restoration and conservation of Montana’s wild animals and wild places. The focus of the induction is to recognize Montana’s historical and contemporary conservation leaders and to capture the stories of these individuals in an effort to contribute to public awareness and education.
MOHF’s founding individuals and organizations participating include Bruce Whittenberg and Molly Kruckenberg of the Montana Historical Society; Thomas Baumeister of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; George Bettas, Samantha Lavin and Jane Ratzlaff of Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation; Dave Chadwick and Stan Frasier of the Montana Wildlife Federation; Laura Parr and Brian Sybert of the Montana Wilderness Association; Stan Bradshaw of Montana Trout Unlimited; Germaine White of The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation; and Jim Posewitz of the Cinnabar Foundation.
Their initial enthusiasm for the idea led to the formation of a planning committee, working under a memorandum of understanding signed in December 2013. The founding organizations are pleased to announce MOHF is now a 501c3 nonprofit organization with its own bylaws, a board of directors, and opportunities for advancement. While the structure of the MOHF has changed, the effort will continue to function in close cooperation with the founding organizations.
Are you passionate about Montana’s conservation history? Are you a leader who wants to give back to the community? If so, please consider learning more about serving on the MOHF board of directors. MOHF is looking for energetic and committed board members to help carry out the mission and create a vision for the future. Board members serve two-year terms beginning in January of each year.
For more information, please email email@example.com
Thomas Baumeister has been involved with the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame since the beginning. He founded and currently runs Access WILD, a business devoted to introducing people to the wilds of the West; he worked for Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for 20 years. Thomas has devoted his life to conserving and connecting with wild places and its inhabitants.
David Brooks serves as the Executive Director of Montana Trout Unlimited. Before joining MTU’s conservation crew, he was trained as an environmental historian who studied Superfund sites and watershed issues. As part of earning his PhD in history at the University of Montana, David wrote the book on Superfund cleanup of the Milltown Dam site on the Clark Fork. Since moving to Missoula in 2000, he has walked, jogged, pedaled, paddled, rowed, hunted, skied and ogled as many wild places and open spaces in the state as possible, most enjoyably when he’s in the company of his wife, daughter, dog, and friends.
Eve Byron is the public information officer at the Montana Historical Society. She is a former long-time journalist who covered natural resources and local, state and federal governments in Colorado and across Montana. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and Society of Professional Journalists, and sits on the Burton K. Wheeler Center board.
Bert Lindler is a community volunteer in Missoula and Mineral Counties. He is a former outdoor and environmental writer for the Great Falls Tribune and technical editor for the U.S. Forest Service. He currently serves as the North Hills Elk, Bear and Weed Volunteer (self-appointed).
Tom Palmer was a public information officer for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks HQ for nearly 30 years. He also wrote for national and regional magazines and studied with Peter Matthiessen at the Environmental Writing Institute at the Teller Wildlife Refuge. He was a staff writer for newspapers in Colorado and Montana too long ago to remember. He lives in Helena with his wife, Teri, and their beloved pups.
Laura has been a proud member of the MOHF committee since 2014. Laura is the Operations Director for Wild Montana is responsible for managing human resources and business operations for the organization. As a native Montanan, she enjoys exploring our great state with her husband, two kids, and two dogs.
Dan Vermillion was raised on the banks of Yellowstone River in Montana. After spending years guiding some of the world’s most exotic and famed fisheries, Dan formed Sweetwater Travel with his brothers, Jeff and Pat Vermillion. Sweetwater Travel is based in Livingston Montana and owns and operates fishing camps in the Alaska, the Bahamas, Brazil, British Columbia, Montana, and Mongolia. Sweetwater’s camps have established the standard for high level of service in remote, wilderness settings. Dan served on Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission from 2007 to 2019 and served as Chairman from 2013 to 2019. During that time, Dan developed an in-depth knowledge of Montana’s fish and wildlife resources as well as the licensing requirements which govern a non-resident’s ability to hunt and fish on their property. Dan presently lives with his family in the Shields valley outside of Livingston. Dan is presently the vice-chair of the Livingston School Board and serves on several non-profit boards across the state of MT.
Gary J. Wolfe has 47 years of conservation and natural resources management experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. He recently retired from his position as executive director of the Cinnabar Foundation and previously served as CEO of two other Montana conservation organizations – Vital Ground and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Gary also served a 4-year term on the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in wildlife biology from Colorado State University.
Peggy O’Neill is the information bureau chief at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. She is a former journalist for newspapers in Montana and Wyoming. She continues to write for outdoor publications in her spare time.
Bruce Whittenberg was the Director of the Montana Historical Society, serving from 2011-2020. Bruce was the founding Executive Director of Leadership Montana, a statewide program of leadership and community development. He also worked for Montana State University Billings in community outreach. Prior to that, Bruce had a 25-year career in newspapers, including as Publisher of the Helena Independent Record and the Billings Gazette. He was involved in the creation of the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame and was the MC for the first four induction ceremonies.
Ariel is an independent contractor who has worked with Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame since 2016. She’s also a park ranger with the National Park Service and has spent the past 15 summers in Glacier and Grand Teton. Nothing makes her happier than hiking in the mountains with her husband, two little boys, and dog!
Charlie M. Russell’s “When the Land Belonged to God,” is the signature image of the MOHF and is used with the permission of the Montana Historical Society.