For Immediate Release: August 8, 2018

Contact:  Julie Gardner,

(406) 239-1848

Supporters, Community Leaders Kickoff Campaign to Pass Open Space Bond, Stewardship Levy

Funding Measures Will Help Protect and Maintain Open Space, Water Quality and Agriculture

Missoula, Mont. – Let’s work together to protect open space and the quality of life in Missoula County for future generations. That was main point today, when community leaders, outdoor recreationists, and conservationists gathered today at Garden City Harvest’s River Road Neighborhood Farm to formally launch the campaign to build support for a renewed county open space bond and a city stewardship levy. Yes for Open Space, Rivers and Farmland will now begin the work to inform county voters about the challenges and threats to land and water resources, and how a renewed bond and a stewardship levy will help protect wildlife habitat, water quality and family farms and ranches.

“Open space defines who we are as Missoula County residents,” said Missoula County Commissioner, Dave Strohmaier. “Whether we’re talking local agriculture, fish and wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, or recreation corridors, our investment in open space is both essential to our current quality of life and a gift to future generations. With development pressure high, I can’t think of a time more critical than now to say ‘yes’ to open space in Missoula County.”

The Missoula County Commissioners recently voted unanimously to place a $15 million open space conservation bond on the November ballot. Likewise, the Missoula City Council voted 10-1 to place a city open space stewardship levy on the ballot to go along with the bond.

Missoula County and the city have long history of working to conserve open spaces, for wildlife habitat, recreation and for agriculture. Missoula passed its first open space bond in 1995, and then another in 2006. Nearly all of the revenue from the last bond has already been spent on conservation projects, including the new Barmeyer trail in Pattee Canyon, Travelers Rest State Park in Frenchtown, the upper part of Marshall Mountain, as well as many pieces of prime agricultural lands in the county. Previous open space funds have leveraged up to $4 for every tax dollar spent, helping make possible conservation purchases like Garden City Harvest’s River Road Neighborhood Farm. Revenue from a renewed bond could help secure access to the Clark Fork River near Frenchtown, and buffer developed areas from wildfire by reducing residential development in forests adjacent to public lands.

“Missoula County residents have a tradition of protecting and caring for our open space, water and farmland,” said Julie Gardner, treasurer of Yes for Open Space, Rivers and Farmland. “The 2006 open space bond funds are nearly gone, yet there is still critical conservation work to do for future generations. Passing a renewed county open space bond and a city stewardship levy ensures that we can maintain our commitment to water quality, agriculture and open space conservation as the county continues to grow into the future.”

City and County residents interested in getting involved in the campaign, or simply learning more, can visit www.YesForOpenSpace.org.