Whitefish Author Douglas Chadwick Highlights Fundraiser Event

Vital Ground campaign aspires to raise $500,000 for grizzly bear habitat

Whitefish, Mont. – Author Douglas Chadwick presented a program about grizzlies, wolverines and large mammals at a recent fundraiser held in Whitefish. Chadwick, author of 10 books, has written hundreds of articles and contracts with the National Geographic Society, which has sent him to explore ecosystems from Siberia to the Congo.

At the July 17 reception held at the home of Brian and Meggen Wilson – Chadwick stressed the importance of keeping wild lands intact by protecting habitats through conservation easements, a tool that guarantees private landowners’ properties will be permanently protected from inappropriate commercial and/or residential development.

The event was co-hosted by Rich and Debi Strong of Bigfork. Meggen Wilson and Debi Strong serve on the board of trustees for The Vital Ground Foundation, a Missoula-based land trust that has protected and enhanced nearly 600,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska and British Columbia.

Fifty guests attended the event. Sharon and Donny Lainhart kicked-off the philanthropy with a $10,000 matching grant from the William H. Donner Foundation. Additional donations will help Vital Ground achieve its objective of $500,000 for conservation projects earmarked for Montana’s Swan Valley.

Jim Williams, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ northwest wildlife program manager, spoke of Vital Ground’s effectiveness in protecting critical corridors where bears, elk, deer and other wildlife travel.

Vital Ground Executive Director Gary Wolfe highlighted current projects and stressed the importance of maintaining wildlife linkage on the landscape.

“From housing developments to commercial sites, from roads to railroads, grizzlies and other wildlife face numerous human barriers,” he said. “When contiguous blocks of habitat are broken into pieces from human activities, the result is habitat fragmentation.”

For more information how to contribute to the campaign to help prevent wildlife habitat fragmentation in northwestern Montana, please contact the sources listed above.

The Vital Ground Foundation works cooperatively with landowners, local communities, and state and federal agencies. Based in Missoula, Vital Ground addresses the issue of habitat fragmentation by permanently protecting crucial lands for the benefit of grizzly bears and other wide-ranging wildlife. For more information, contact Vital Ground.