Missoula Current

Few Montanans have parlayed an eighth-grade education at a one-room school and backwoods skills into a leadership position in the nation’s conservation movement as effectively as the late Bud Moore. The University of Montana soon will honor him with a film screening on his life.

The movie, “Bud’s Place,” will premiere at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, in the University Center Theater. Admission is free, and Moore’s son will introduce the film. A second free showing will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 17, in the Seeley Lake Community Hall.

As a young man graduating from Lolo’s Woodman School during the Depression, Moore skied over the hill to the Lochsa country, towing a sled with trapping supplies. Before long, he put his skills as a woodsman to work for the U.S. Forest Service.

Moore eventually became the Clearwater National Forest’s Powell District ranger, the deputy director of the Forest Service’s fire and aviation program in Washington, D.C., and the director of fire and aviation management for the Forest Service’s Northern Region in Missoula.  Moore approved the first fire for wilderness management, breaking the Forest Service tradition of extinguishing all forest fires and catalyzing fire management change across national forests in his most significant act of conservation leadership.

After retirement, Moore moved to the Swan Valley, where he bought 80 acres of grizzly habitat that became “Coyote Forest.” There he ran a small sawmill during the summer and resumed trapping in the Bob Marshall Wilderness during the winter. Moore not only protected Coyote Forest with a conservation easement, but his example encouraged several of his neighbors to do the same. Moore also sat on the early board of directors for the Wilderness Institute, and often lectured for students in UM’s Wilderness and Civilization program.

Documentary filmmaker George Sibley spent the past year producing “Bud’s Place,” which is available on DVD. The Missoula premiere is sponsored by UM’s Wilderness Institute, Vital Ground, the Montana Wilderness Association and the Society of American Foresters.

For more information on the screening, call Wilderness Institute Director Natalie Dawson at 406-243-6956 or email natalie.dawson@umontana.edu.