Articles written by Bebe Crouse

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  • Machine being tested could replace slash fires

    Bebe Crouse, The Nature Conservancy|Dec 1, 2022

    By Bebe Crouse The Nature Convervancy You may have seen a strange piece of machinery being towed through the area recently. It looks like a rail car-size dumpster mounted on tank treads. It's called a Tigercat Carbonator. It has nothing to do with producing fizzy beverages, but it will turn the woody slash piles left after forest thinning into a charcoal-like amendment that helps soil hold onto moisture and nutrients. The Nature Conservancy, public agencies and private landowners have experiment...

  • Ramping up for summer work on TNC lands

    Bebe Crouse, The Nature Conservancy in Montana|Jun 23, 2022

    Summer is upon us and that means Nature Conservancy crews are deep into their season of fieldwork but we haven't been idle over the winter and spring. We were excited to complete the first leg of a two-part sale of land in the Ninemile/Woodchuck area to the Bureau of Land Management. The first 4,600 acres were transferred in April and we expect to close soon on an additional 6,400 acres bringing the total to 11,000 acres permanently conserved for public use. Lots of numbers, but the bottom line...

  • Closing a chapter and welcoming the next

    Bebe Crouse, The Nature Conservancy|Jan 21, 2021

    As we welcome the New Year, The Nature Conservancy was glad to end the last one with some good news. On Christmas Eve, we finalized another sale of more than 12,000 acres of land to the U.S. Forest Service. Together with a previous sale, more than 28,000 acres of former industrial timberland are now secure for wildlife habitat and public use. “I’ve been involved with this project since the beginning,” said Todd Johnson, representative for Pyramid Mountain Lumber and Blackfoot Challenge board member. “I even went to Washington, D.C. to help ma...

  • Tackling the risk of wildland fire

    Bebe Crouse, The Nature Conservancy|Jul 30, 2020

    By the calendar, Montana has four seasons. Yet, increasingly, we are experiencing a fifth; fire season. As July draws to a close, a lot of us are starting to think what might be ahead as temperatures soar and our forests become increasingly dry. The Seeley Lake community won't soon forget the smoky summer of 2017 when the fire drove folks from town and shuttered businesses and schools – straining nerves, health and the local economy. The forests make the community beautiful but can also put it a...

  • A new vision for Montana forests

    Bebe Crouse, The Nature Conservancy|Jan 23, 2020

    Imagine trying to hike, bike or ride a snowmobile in your local mountains only to encounter a fence and no trespassing sign every mile or so. That could have been the future for hundreds of thousands of acres in the Blackfoot and Swan Valleys...and beyond. That was also a big reason that The Nature Conservancy took a real leap of faith when it began buying land from Plum Creek Timber more than 20 years ago. Over time, we bought more than half a million acres of this former industrial timber...

  • A Hopeful Future for Our Forests

    Erin Hendel and Bebe Crouse, The Nature Conservancy|Oct 26, 2017

    Last week, The Nature Conservancy staff from Washington state joined Montana staff to look at the forests burned this summer by the Liberty Fire, which affected roughly 7,000 acres of the land recently acquired by the Conservancy. Dozens of local contractors and crews from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and U.S. Forest Service have been working for weeks on rehabilitation efforts, including repair of roads and firelines. We are grateful for all of the good work and long days that have gone into this effort and...

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