Posted by: ecodestination | May 30, 2009

Help Montana go eco this summer

Carpenter Lake

Have you visited the state of Montana in the summer? The open space is pretty great—clear, sunny, crisp, pure. Nature and wildlife all around, and not the fake kind of nature like bonsai trees and botanical gardens laced with asphalt, but tall grass, towering trees, and pristine lakes for miles on end. No BS.

Now some hotels and lodges are educating their guests to help them keep their home green. Visitors will learn about a program that allows them to donate $1-$2 to help conserve the local landscape.

As innkeepers (and hopefully travel agents and so on) collect donations from their guests, they can aid landowners who sign conservation easements (binding agreements that limit owners’ ability to develop or build on their property). These can allow landowners to, for example, keep a ranch for strictly agricultural use rather than sell it to someone who would destroy the natural landscape, pave it, and build apartments or other polluting developments.

“The small donations will add up over time from travelers wanting to preserve Montana’s natural horizons,” said Mike Scholz, a former Big Sky hotelier who founded the Travelers for Open Land program. Partners include the Montana Association of Land Trusts, the Montana Community Foundation and Travel Montana, the state tourism agency.

You can also engage in an awesome ecological project here by joining the Conservation Corps. This is hand-on work. Positions are actually available from February through November, so you don’t have to wait until summer. Also, their work also extends to surrounding states. Projects include restoring and building trails, assisting scientists in biological research, restoring forests and grasslands, preserving habitat through planting trees and other activities, and community service.

early fall in MT

early fall in MT

If you’re itching for nature (I am!) and feeling generous, consider giving your time in exchange for purity and fulfillment doing your part to help locals in these laudable projects.

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