LIBBY, Mont. — Gov. Greg Gianforte continued his 56-county tour in Mineral, Sanders and Lincoln counties and yesterday celebrated an upcoming expansion of a forest management agreement before honoring local recipients of the 2021 Montana Governor’s Veteran Commendation.
“I am very pleased to be here in Northwest Montana to highlight our progress in building healthier, more resilient forests through active forest management,” said Governor Gianforte. “This announcement represents a much-needed milestone: a long-term, landscape-scale forest management agreement between partners. When we actively manage our forests together, as we are doing in Lincoln County, we reduce wildfire risk, improve forest health, and provide more predictability and safety to the timber products industry.”
Governor Gianforte Announces Expanded Forest Management Agreement in Kootenai National Forest
In Libby, the governor joined local leaders, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) staff, and US Forest Service officials to announce an upcoming expanded, decade-long agreement that commits to the primary urban interface between wildland and city to treat in the Kootenai National Forest.
The expanded Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) agreement represents the governor’s goal to increase the pace and scope of forest management in Montana and sets a goal to treat up to 10,000 acres per year in the Kootenai National Forest. The agreement was negotiated on behalf of the state by the DNRC leadership and the Libby Unit.
“Devotion and commitment to goals larger than themselves is one of the key tenets shared by the Libby Unit staff,” said Greg Poncin, DNRC Northwest Land Office Manager. “We are very proud of the work they do, but also the initiative and innovation they exemplify in building programs, proactively seeking funding and hiring skilled people to carry out this new and sometimes undefined work. They are leading the way and together they are creating incredible value in this corner of Montana.”
To recognize DNRC’s Libby unit for their work in strategically coordinating, planning and implementing this and other forest management programs, Governor Gianforte presented the team with his Outstanding Service Award. The Governor’s Outstanding Service Award recognizes state employees who go above and beyond in their work while serving Montanans.
Governor Gianforte presents DNRC’s Libby unit with an award for outstanding service
On his trip from Libby to Eureka, the Governor honored two local veterans who received the 2021 Montana Governor’s Veteran Commendation.
Thomas “Tom” Price and Dennis Lee Radish, both from Eureka, received the award for their service in the US Navy and for their contributions to their communities. Price served in World War II and Radish served in the Vietnam War.
Governor Gianforte shakes hands with Dennis Radish
“I am proud to celebrate two of Montana’s outstanding veterans who have served our nation and given back to their communities,” said Gianforte. “Veterans like Tom and Dennis strengthen our state, and I’m honored to recognize them for their contributions to the country and community.”
The Montana Governor’s Veteran Commendation honors outstanding Montana veterans who have served our country selflessly in uniform and have since made a positive impact in their community. The full list of recipients for 2021 can be found here.
Earlier in the day, Gov. Gianforte visited Superior Meats, Inc. in Mineral County and stressed the importance of expanding local processing to reduce the meatpacking giants’ control of the market. Superior Meats Inc., a certified local meat processor, received a $150,000 ARPA grant for its automated packaging equipment and composting system.
Under the governor’s leadership, the meat processed at state-controlled facilities in Montana has doubled this fiscal year to date. Montana also recently became just the 10th state to allow state-controlled meat and poultry processors to ship their products across state lines.
The Governor also toured Sanders County Feed, a new family owned farm and feed store in Thompson Falls. Owners Wayne and JP Ducote opened the store last November and rely on input from ranchers, contractors and veterinarians, as well as their own ranching background, to best serve the community.
The Governor’s 56 County Tour continues today in northwest Montana.