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Legendary Forester, Conservationist, Woodsman Honored

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Missoula County commissioners announced Thursday that Bud Moore is the 2014 posthumous recipient of the Missoula County Land Stewardship Award.
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Missoula, Mont. – Missoula County commissioners announced Thursday that Bud Moore is the 2014 posthumous recipient of the Missoula County Land Stewardship Award. The legendary forester, conservationist, and woodsman was nominated by The Vital Ground Foundation, a wildlife conservation organization that operates as a land trust out of Missoula.
The award recognizes landowners and residents who take stewardship of land and water seriously and embark on projects and practices that benefit land, water, forests, wildlife and communities.
After a long career with the U.S. Forest Service, Moore and his wife purchased 80 acres in Montana’s Swan Valley and spent the next 30 years restoring the logged-over land, which he called “Coyote Forest.”  Moore wrote an ecosystem management plan for his property, and he operated a small mill all while managing for forest sustainability and wildlife conservation. He died in 2010.
Moore contacted Vital Ground in 2005 and asked about a conservation easement to protect Coyote Forest, said Ryan Lutey, Vital Ground director of lands.
“As Vital Ground transitioned to a land trust, Bud granted the organization’s very first conservation easement and sparked our continued work in the Swan Valley,” Lutey said. “After completing his project, Bud acted as a local outreach ambassador for Vital Ground, which inspired nine conservation easements and one fee-title acquisition to protect important wildlife habitat, riparian resources and productive forest lands throughout the valley.”
Vital Ground’s most recent work in the Swan Valley was late in 2013, when several neighbors including son Bill Moore and wife Jean permanently protected more than 300 additional acres under Vital Ground’s Elk Flats Neighbors Project.
Conservation work in the Swan Valley achieved Vital Ground’s goal of protecting valuable wildlife habitat – not only for the grizzly bear and other large species that move across the landscape, but for smaller species including Canada lynx, snowshoe hare and aquatic life.
Son Bill and daughter Vickie Moore accepted the award at The University of Montana’s Mansfield Library, where the Bud Moore Papers Collection is being established.
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: www.vitalground.org.

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