Wilderness highlighted during shared anniversary celebration for the Carhart Center and the Leopold Institute

Three people overlooking body of water

Twenty years ago Former Chief of the Forest Service Jack Ward Thomas recognized, as high priority, the need to bring together the four wilderness management agencies under one roof to help share resources, science and information. In 1993 the Arthur Carhart National Training Center and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Station were established to meet this need. Wednesday, September 11, the Carhart Center and Leopold Institute celebrated their twentieth anniversary on the University of Montana with a crowd of nearly 200. Jack Ward Thomas spoke to the crowd emphasizing “These two organizations provide the training, information, education and research to back up America's wilderness system. University of Montana Provost Perry Brown affirmed U of M as the right place for the two organizations because it's our moral obligation at UM to pay close attention to wilderness. Montana is at the heart of the wilderness movement.

Speakers from the University of Montana stressed the value of having the Leopold Institute and the Carhart located on Campus considering the University's strong emphasis on Wilderness and Wilderness Programs. U of M speakers included Dr. Perry Brown, UM Provost; Dr. Natalie Dawson, Director UM Wilderness & Civilization Program; and Zack Porter, Director, NextGen, Montana Wilderness Association. Carhart Center Director Connie Myers discussed the importance of collaboration and coordination among the Agencies managing wilderness. Leopold Institute Director Susan Fox pointed out how wilderness research benefits all lands. Both Myers and Fox recognize climate change and increasing human pressures on open landscapes continuing to bring new pressures on the Nation's remaining landscapes. And this when less than 5% of land in the U.S. are protected as wilderness.

The event was covered by local media; the Missoulian story can be found here, ALWRI 20th Anniversary. The event was also covered by Montana Public Radio.

- September 2013 Explorer Newsletter