The Arnold Bolle Award
Greg Munther - 1999
Greg Munther was raised in Idaho Falls and had aspirations to be a dentist. As he sat in his dorm room at the University of Idaho studying, he looked out the window and realized he was making a big mistake. Instead, Greg received his bachelor’s in Forestry with Fisheries in 1965 and a master’s of Science in Fisheries Management in 1967. This change of plans led to a fulfilling thirty-two-year career with the U.S. Forest Service on the Lolo National Forest’s Ninemile Ranger District. Greg continues to take part in several organizations including the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, for which he founded the Montana chapter in 2009. He is also on the board of the Montana Sportsmen Alliance with a focus on conservation, responsible stewardship, and ensuring sportsmen representation in areas of public policy.
Greg is an unwavering conservationist and outdoorsmen. If Greg does not get outside every day, whether running his dogs, going on the river, or hunting, he feels it is a day wasted. Greg finds that sitting by a waterway and observing how an intact ecosystem interacts to be an extremely gratifying part of nature. The most important aspects of conservation for Greg are to advocate for water resources and access to public lands. Though he retired twenty years ago, he would feel remiss if he did not continue to work in conservation and actively engage in political debate.
An example of Greg’s willingness to speak up happened in 1983 when a pulp mill near Missoula requested to increase its discharge of treated wastewater to the Clark Fork River. With many other citizens, Greg objected and described at a public hearing the visible effects of the current discharge and a fish kill he had observed downstream. As a professional fisheries biologist, Greg’s words carried weight and helped convince the MT DEQ to reconsider.
Greg received the Arnold Bolle award in 1999 for his lifetime achievement in conservation and natural resource management. Notably, Greg represented biological resources as a Core Team member in development of the Lolo Forest Plan which has been a successful guiding document for over 30 years. Subsequently as Ninemile District Ranger for 10 years, he focused on decisions that would ensure protection or restoration of all resources on nearly a third of a million acres, including the proposed Great Burn Wilderness.
Greg is particularly grateful for the conservation community in Montana, but fears that today’s youth are not as actively involved in conservation issues as his generation. Collective discourse and collaboration have been a meaningful aspect of his endeavors. His message for future conservationists is to actively participate. Go to public meetings, be politically active, and do not waver in the face of adversity to conservation goals.
Biography by Kym MacEwan