The Arnold Bolle Award

Chuck Tribe -2009

Chuck Tribe
Chuck Tribe

Chuck Tribe was a U.S. Marine, smokejumper, forester, boat builder, soccer player, and dedicated conservationist. His passion for the world of nature took root early, informed by his ramblings among the woodlots and fields of his grandfather’s Ohio farm. That same passion led him to participate in some of Missoula’s early work on open space protection as a volunteer. When the Five Valleys River Parks Association was reshaped into Five Valleys Land Trust in 1988, Chuck became a founding board member, and continued to serve there for the next 27 years. His feeling for the land and insistence on doing things according to high ethical standards were critical to the organization’s evolution into a highly regarded community land trust. He served as President during the years of the Mount Jumbo acquisition.

In 1949 at the age of 16, Chuck contacted his Ohio congressman and obtained the 1949 Yearbook of Agriculture, entitled “Trees.” That started it and at 17 he managed to land a summer job on a blister rust crew with the U.S. Forest Service in northern Idaho. That’s when he passed through Missoula for the first time – that summer in the Rocky Mountains was a revelation to him, leaving an impression that lasted the rest of his life. Returning to Ohio, he enlisted in the Marines at age 18 going ashore in Korea in 1952. After completing his service, Chuck was accepted as a Forest Service Smokejumper, graduating from the University of Montana in Forestry in 1958. He started his professional career with the Forest Service in 1959 and served in many capacities in Montana and Idaho until his retirement in 1989.

Moving around to the distant outposts of the Forest Service Northern Region, Chuck’s understanding of the complexities of large-scale natural resource management and the fundamental necessity of a strong conservation ethic in decision-making were honed. In his years at the Lolo National Forest headquarters in Missoula, Chuck was the Forest Planning Officer leading a team in producing one of the earliest conservation-based Forest Plans under the newly enacted National Forest Management Act. That effort cemented Chuck’s conviction that details matter and standards and practices are not just words, but fundamental concepts necessary for ethical forest and conservation management. The planning effort by Chuck and his team became a template for the National Forest system and still provides direction for the Forest today. During that period, Chuck was also involved in developing new standards for BPA power lines across western Montana and in strategies and agreements that eventually resulted in the creation of the Rock Creek Trust. Chuck assisted in writing Planning policies for the Northern Region of the Forest Service until his retirement. When Chuck joined the Five Valleys Land Trust, he brought with him his conviction that fundamental concepts and details matter. He worked to formalize the organization’s standards and practices and under that leadership, Five Valleys Land Trust became one of the first accredited land trusts in the nation.

Chuck was green long before green was ever cool. His fingerprints can be found all across the open and protected landscapes of the Missoula Valley. His politics were grounded in inclusiveness, our obligations to each other, and our duty to be good stewards of the earth.

Chuck died in November, 2016.

The Missoula Conservation Roundtable gratefully acknowledges generous contributions to our website design. Our logo was created by Kate Davis, Raptors of the Rockies; Brian Christianson contributed the photographs for page headers Brian Christianson Photography

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