Dear MTU Members and Friends,
Like so many of you, I’ve turned to video calls to keep in touch with my family, friends, coworkers, and partners in MTU’s mission. In addition to sharing COVID-19 news and helpful or funny stories about how we’re all dealing with orders to shelter in place or social distance, the most frequent topic of conversation on these calls is how we are all finding solace in getting outside. For me, and many of the people I interact with virtually, that means being on or near Montana’s rivers and streams. Because so many people, like me, are working remotely or, unfortunately are out of work for the moment, I’ve heard the admission, “I snuck out for a few hours and waded one of my favorite stretches of Secret Creek at lunchtime today,” or “My husband, son and I floated and fished the river yesterday and just took a break from thinking about this virus.”
But these stories about heading outside are about more than just a momentary escape. What I really hear from people is how being out, being on the water rejuvenates us. Something about standing thigh-deep in flowing water, being carried by the current, or simply walking alongside the rush of a creek fills us with the energy and positive spirit to return to our worlds of work or to face this crisis anew.
Yes, at Montana Trout Unlimited we pursue our mission to benefit trout. We also do so because we know the less singular values of cold, clean, connect and complex water. We love to fish. But we also know that healthy wild and native fish represent vital, thriving ecosystems, the kinds of places that heal and inspire people, the kinds of places we turn on carefree weekends or as shelter from crises.
Because you are a key part of our success and our community, I wanted to let you know that during this COVID-19 crisis, we will, to the best of our ability continue to work to conserve, protect, and restore these places in Montana. We are committed to doing so with the utmost caution for the health of our staff, volunteers, and the public. We are erring on the side of extreme caution. We are following all local, state and federal guidelines regarding the virus and how to contain its spread. Our offices are closed and we are working remotely. We are foregoing all face-to-face meetings and events in favor of virtual gatherings or rainchecks. We’re Zooming, Slacking, and old-fashion calling on the telephone, as well as exploring create ways to continue our conservation work and to engage our dedicated members and followers.
All of these things remind me of the good fortune I have of being surrounded by smart, motivated, fierce and fish-loving folks. We appreciate your dedication to our mission and our shared love of Montana’s coldwater streams and rivers. May they continue to inspire you through these times and well into the future.
MTU Executive Director