Having just celebrated the beginning of a new year, we also now embark on a new decade. Perhaps this is a good time to take stock of how land conservation is faring.
The words of that great Republican conservationist Theodore Roosevelt provide a good yardstick to measure our present situation. He wrote close to a century ago that, "The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, not impaired, in value."
So what does this mean on the ground in Montana? I don't think we have lived up to Teddy's words yet. The next generation is in danger of receiving a more degraded and damaged legacy unless we make real progress in the years to come in three areas: protecting more of our last wildlands, increasing our restoration commitments, and effectively accounting for climate change.