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Mental Health Crisis in Montana

March 18th, 10-2, at Old Roosevelt School

Addressing Mental Health in the United States has been a consistent challenge. Americans pride themselves on being able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. In Montana, a state that for the past decade has had a suicide rate nearly twice the national average (24.5 per 100,000 compared to 13.4 per 100,000), neighbors continue to hide their conditions in shame rather than seek treatment. The Department of Health and Human Services in Montana found that 88% of adults report that their mental health was 'not good' for 14 consecutive days or more within the past 30 days.  Throughout the state of Montana, 54 of 56 counties have a Mental Health Professional Shortage. This crisis afflicts our youth as well; 9% of high school students in Montana attempted suicide in 2015. It is imperative that we create an accepting and inclusive culture of health within local and national communities to combat these painful illnesses our friends and family members are facing along. 


  • 10-Introductions

  • 10:15 -Overall Mental Health, Specifically in Montana, Barbara Mettler, Executive Director of the Mental Health Center for Region 3

  • 11:00 -Addiction Disorders and the Neuroscience Behind Them, Malcolm Horn,Rimorck Foundation

  • 11:45 -Lunch

  • 12:15 -Managing Your Mental Health, Summer Peterson, Mountain Town Yoga

  • 12:30 -Suicide, Fredricka Gilje

  • 1:15 -Breakout Sessions, Questions Panel, Conclusion


Event Videos


Hilary Hutcheson, Key Note

Session 1: Public Lands: What are they and who manages them?

Session 2: Outdoor Recreation, Stewardship, and Evolving Economics

Mark Haggerty, Headwaters Economics – The Value of Public Lands to Gateway Communities

Session 3: Public Lands Access, Local Economics, and the Public Lands Transfer Movement

Closing Comments

Public Lands, Outdoor Recreation, Stewardship, and Gateway Communities

  • Join the conversation about our public lands heritage.  The purpose of the forum is to broaden awareness and share perspectives about the importance of public lands –for their cultural significance, for outdoor recreation activities, the evolving economics of gateway communities, their stewardship, and the agencies that manage public lands.

  • Our underlying goal is to leave folks informed, inspired, and motivated to become involved in continued access, use, and stewardship of their public lands. 

  • This forum will have something for everyone – from advice for personal stewardship practices, to ways to influence policy.  You WILL leave with tools to make a difference!


Friday, May 19, 2017 
6:30-7:30 PM
Introduction/Social Slide Show/Short Film:
7:30-8:30 PM
Keynote Speaker: David Quammen, Author and National Geographic Associate

Saturday, May 20, 2017, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
8:30-9:00 AM – Doors Open

9:00-9:30 AM
Keynote Speaker: Governor or Governor’s Representative, Governor’s Public Lands Agenda 

Session 1:  Public Lands:  What Are They, Their Cultural Significance, and Who Manages Them?
There is often confusion or lack of knowledge about what public lands are, who manages them, where to obtain information about them, how the public may participate as volunteers, advocates, or collaborate; or the distinction between National Parks, National Monuments, Wilderness, National Forests and Grasslands, Public Lands (BLM), or State Lands.  Panelists and the audience will participate in a discussion about the different public land categories and the agencies that manage them.  Information will be provided about:

  • The cultural significance of public lands to Native Americans.

  • Public lands and the agencies that manage them. Including information about: where the lands occur, agency offices locations, and how the public can become involved as volunteers, advocates, or collaborators as individuals or through NGOs or collaborative groups. 

  • Provide information about agency missions and how they differ.   

Bureau of Land Management – Jim Sparks, Billings Field Office 
Forest Service – Ken Coffin, District Ranger, Beartooth Ranger District, Custer Gallatin NF 
Department of Natural Resources – Matt Wolcott, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
National Park Service, Great Northern Land Conservation Cooperative – Representative

11:30-12:00 Lunch

12:00-1:30 PM
Session 2:  Public Lands:  Outdoor Recreation, Stewardship, and the Evolving Economics of Gateway Communities
The use and economics associated with public lands is changing throughout the west.  The change is from one based primarily on extraction of natural resources to a more diverse economy where access to open spaces, habitats, and ability to pursue a variety of outdoor recreation activities provided by public lands is becoming increasingly important to sustaining local economies and businesses.  Panelists will discuss how outdoor recreation and access to public lands is diversifying the economies of gateway communities; with increasing demand and use, what does a “land ethic” and stewardship for public lands mean for outdoor recreation; what access to public lands for outdoor activities means to the next generation; ranching and outfitter and guide use of public lands; and volunteer and participation opportunities with conservation groups and other NGOs.  Provide information about:

  • The economic benefit to local communities with access to public lands for outdoor recreation. 

  • The outdoor recreation economy, the direct and indirect economic benefits to gateway communities.

  • How the outdoor recreation is changing the economies of small towns and rural communities.

  • Next Generation and outdoor recreation uses.

  • Promoting a “land ethic” for public lands.  With increasing demand and outdoor recreation use of public lands, discuss conservation and stewardship of public lands and mitigating effects of outdoor recreation on the land, infrastructure, wildlife habitat, and wildlife populations.

Mike Haggerty, Headwaters Economics 
Charlie Smillie, Eastern Wildlands, Montana Wilderness Association 
Darcie Warden, Conservation Coordinator, Greater Yellowstone Coalition 
Austin Hart, Next-Generation and Outdoor Recreation 
David Kallenbach, Executive Director, AB Wilderness Foundation 
Noel Keogh, Rancher

1:30-2:00 PM Breakout Group Discussion

2:00-3:00 PM
Session 3: Public Lands Access and the Public Lands Transfer Movement
Public lands play an important role in an outdoor recreation and tourist economy, sustainable local businesses, and communities.  There is an effort to transfer federally managed public lands to the states or privatize them.  Panelists will discuss importance of continued access to public lands and water to sustaining an outdoor recreation economy, local businesses, habitat conservation; and the possible affects to the outdoor recreation economy and the local business community if public lands were privatized or transferred to the State.  Panel discussion will include strategies for elevating knowledge about importance of the outdoor recreation economy to sustainable communities.  Provide information about:

  • Public land access issues and the current movement to transfer public lands to the States or privatize public lands.

  • Access policies for State lands compared to National Forests, and BLM managed lands.

  • The affect to County budgets if revenue from payment in lieu of taxes from was lost.

  • Would there be any difference if National Forests, National Parks, BLM, or other public lands were managed by, or transferred to, the State. 

  • What would be the affect to local communities dependent on tourist and outdoor recreation activities if access to public lands was changed?

  • Collaborative groups building consensus between outdoor recreation interests, stewardship, and natural resource extraction industries.

  • How citizens can become more informed and involved in participating or commenting on public land access issues, public land management decisions, or pending legislation. 

John Gibson, President Public Land/Water Access Association 
Alex Sienkiewicz, District Ranger, Yellowstone District, Custer Gallatin NF
Patrick Holmes, Governor’s Office
Representative – Red Lodge Chamber of Commerce, or Red Lodge Merchants and Lodging Association
Representative – County Government, Custer Gallatin Working Group

3:00-3:30 PM
Breakout Group Discussion

3:30-4:00 PM
Keynote Speaker: Hilary Hutcheson, Trout TV and Outside Media 

Beartooth Front Community Forum 

PO Box 2383, Red Lodge, MT 59068


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