Ruby Valley Strategic Alliance
The Ruby Valley is cherished by its’ residents and visitors for its working ranches that provide clean water, open space, and wildlife habitat; access to backcountry, recreation, and outdoor traditions. The Ruby watershed includes a mix of public and private lands, 39% of the watershed is privately owned while 61% is managed by state and federal agencies. It has been recognized that our public lands and private working ranches are inextricably tied; conservation and management decisions regarding both can be strengthened through partnerships.
This alliance was formed in order to formally recognize that maintaining working ranches and public land viable and intact helps us all to achieve our long term conservation goals. The wide reaching alliance includes members from the Ruby Valley Stock Users Association, Conservation District and Watershed Council, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the Ruby Habitat Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, The Nature Conservancy, the Montana Wilderness Association and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and many more. By focussing positive dialogue on shared interests and common goals it has enabled the group to aim for better stewardship of the Ruby Valley.
To enhance their partnership and mission the group has identified the following shared values:
1. Build lasting relationships among partners
We are a diverse group of people who recognize the unique character of the greater Ruby landscape. We believe in the importance of understanding each other’s perspectives and values, finding common ground and the collective power we can have toward working our goals with a unified voice.
2.Maintain our working landscapes
Montana is well- known for its working ranch lands, as 70% of the state’s landscape is rangeland. As conservationists and owners of multigenerational family ranches, we recognize the importance of the area’s working ranches in supporting wildlife habitat and open spaces as well as the reliance of many of these operations on adjacent public land grazing permits, some of which date back almost a century. We also recognize the conflicts that result from sharing the landscape, and we will work to minimize them.
3. Maintain and enhance our outdoor way of life in the greater Ruby landscape for future generations
We recognize family ranches play an important role in public land stewardship and conservation of open space. Wilderness and protected landscapes are tools used to preserve the outdoor traditions of the greater Ruby landscape for the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. Together we can demonstrate that private lands and diverse public land uses all have a role.
4. Preserve our wilderness heritage and quiet landscapes
We recognize the value in sustaining a wild, untrammeled landscape in the greater Ruby landscape including opportunities to find solitude and for primitive types of recreation.
5. Maintain and enhance high-quality recreation experiences
We agree the greater Ruby landscape has tremendous value to sportsmen and women, and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. A wide spectrum of recreation activities occur throughout the greater Ruby landscape. We understand the value and importance of a human connection to the outdoors/natural world and that there are a variety of ways in which we maintain this connection. We believe in a need to manage recreation to ensure high-quality experiences and provide diverse, balanced opportunities for future generations of forest users.
Story and Photos by August Schield In Montana, people are bound together by a common landscape. It is the single most underlying substance that all life shares. Air and animals. People and plants. Fire and water. Soil, food, and even ideas move throughout ecosystems in fluid, complex patterns without regard to boundaries, creating the ecological commons.
Story and Photos by August Schield Ranchers are the local conservationists in the Ruby Valley. Here, conservation isn’t only a part of the culture, but also a part of the community. Meet Rick Sandru and Neil Barnosky, two ranchers who take great pride in their occupation, and in their role in the Ruby Valley Strategic Alliance.
More than a year ago, ranchers and conservationists got together to figure how we can work together to benefit the Ruby Valley, a land of wild spaces and working ranches. We named ourselves the Ruby Valley Strategic Alliance.