Mountain high 

Caring about environmental health can be really depressing. Every time I read about the melting of glaciers, animal extinctions and toxic chemicals and impending natural disasters, I have to sometimes walk outside and check to make sure Mount Sentinel hasn’t somehow crumbled.

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  • Cathrine L. Walters

Fortunately, there are organizations in Missoula doing work that should cheer up even the most dour environmentalist. Five Valleys Land Trust, for instance, is a nonprofit that helps private landowners put their property into conservation easements. The trust—named for the Bitterroot, Blackfoot, Mission and upper and lower Clark Forks—was founded in 1972. Since then, piece by piece, it’s protected more than 67,000 acres and 146 miles of stream frontage. Take a look out your window and you can see Five Valleys’ handiwork on Mount Jumbo, which was saved from potential development partly by the trust’s efforts in 1997.

Winter sporty types can earn a gold star in outdoorsy-ness with the Five Valleys Ski Day at Discovery, where $10 from each $30 lift ticket benefits the trust. Helping protect western Montana’s open space while getting to play in it sounds like a pretty uplifting experience.

At Five Valleys Ski Day, $10 from each lift ticket sold goes to the Five Valleys Land Trust, and Shane Clouse and Stomping Ground play tunes. Discovery Ski Area, outside Anaconda. Sat., Dec. 21. Skiing starts at 9:30 AM, music at 3 PM. Lift tickets are $30.

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