Bill Leaphart is a former Montana Supreme Court Justice and the treasurer for Montanans for Trap-Free Public Lands.”Montana is the last refuge in the lower 48 for rare and sensitive wildlife species, and many are hanging on by a thread, due in part to indiscriminate traps. Traps also turn our public lands into hostile territory for people and pets. They are an anachronism in the 21st century; it’s time to remove them from our public lands.”
A native of Great Falls, Monte Dolack grew up surrounded by the same sweeping vistas and big sky that inspired Charlie Russell. His love of Montana and passion for the West’s diverse landscapes and wildlife are evident in the images he creates and the commissions he undertakes.After studying art at Montana State University and The University of Montana, Monte opened his first studio in 1974, beginning a successful career in fine art and graphics. His best known early works – wild animals wreaking havoc in human homes – comprise his “Invaders Series,” exploring the myths of the West and how we view our relationship with our environment. The irresistible appeal of these images helped build Monte’s national reputation and continues to attract collectors.Monte has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards in the course of his career, and his work is part of the collection of the Library of Congress, the American Association of Museums, the National Wildfire Foundation and numerous other museums and corporations.Exhibitions include The Montana Exhibition, Manawatu Art Museum, New Zealand; Artists of the American West, Bank of Ireland Fine Arts Centre, Dublin, Ireland, and The Kumamoto Prefectural Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan. Monte’s work was chosen to be included in The North American Print Biennial, Boston, MA and New American Paintings, a Western States competition sponsored by the Open Studio Press as well as five major museums in China including the National Art Museum of Beijing, as part of the New West Exhibition. In 2011 he exhibited at the Palace of Nations in the United Nations, Geneva Switzerland. In 2012 he exhibited in London at the Bossanyi Studio. He was selected at the turn of the century by the Missoulian as one of the 100 most influential Montanans of the twentieth century and recently received the distinguished Fine Arts Alumni award from the University of Montana along with his wife Mary Beth Percival.A love of the natural world, combined with his exuberant curiosity and travel experiences, has shaped the content of Monte’s imagery. Blending mythology, technology and elements from nature, his work is infused with a sense of humor and irony. Monte’s keen interest in environmental issues has lead to commissions for the Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife and Trout Unlimited as well as over 200 posters and prints for various organizations.In addition to his acrylic, oil and watercolor painting, Monte continues to pursue his interest in traditional printmaking, having created numerous original lithographs. Since 1993, with his wife, Mary Beth Percival and staff, he operates a flourishing gallery in downtown Missoula. Monte and Mary Beth have traveled extensively in the US, Europe, Mexico, New Zealand, Japan and Egypt, visiting important cultural sites and museums and making paintings from their travels.
Stewart Brandborg was born in 1925 into a family dedicated to the conservation of America’s public lands and wild backcountry. His father was Forest Supervisor of the Bitterroot National Forest for half of his 40-year career with the Forest Service. Stewart would meet the likes of Gifford Pinchot and the legendary Bob Marshall as they visited his father at his childhood home.Stewart studied wildlife, earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana in 1947 and his master’s from the University of Idaho in 1951. But it was in recognition of his life’s work of conserving wild land that Stewart received an honorary Doctorate degree from the University of Montana in 2010.Stewart moved to Washington, D.C. in 1954 to work briefly for the National Wildlife Federation. He then sought and won a job with The Wilderness Society as an assistant to Howard Zahniser, who had written the earliest version of The Wilderness Act and gotten it introduced into Congress. Stewart worked alongside Zahniser for eight years, working on successive drafts of The Wilderness Act and developing the grassroots support needed for its passage.When Zahniser died in May of 1964, the job fell to Stewart and The Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson four months later. But Stewart new better than anyone that the initial 9 million acres designated Wilderness by the Act was just the beginning and he dedicated his life to getting more wild country designated.Stewart went to work for the National Park Service in 1977 and helped secure protection of over 100 million acres of public lands in Alaska under the pen of President Jimmy Carter. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 doubled the size of America’s National Park and Refuge systems and tripled the amount of land designated as Wilderness.Stewart returned to the Bitterroot Valley in 1986, where he continues to light a fire under successive generations of wilderness advocates and works tirelessly to further increase today’s 110 million acres of America’s public lands designated as Wilderness.
Robin Lamont is a wildlife advocate and award-winning novelist. In researching her most recent eco-thriller The Trap, she learned of the pain and suffering endured by animals caught in leg-hold traps and snares. Brutally evident also was the indiscriminate nature of these traps which wound and kill hundreds of non-target animals, including domestic pets, every year. She urges everyone to support the Montanans for Trap-Free Public Lands Initiative I-177.
Lee Metzgar, Retired Professor of Biology and Wildlife Biology
“As a hunter and as a wildlife biologist, I am delighted to support and endorse the Montana Trap-free Public Lands Initiative [I-177]. It is time for all hunters to recognize that recreational trapping violates long-held principles that guide the treatment, fair chase and commercial use of wildlife.”
Dr. Marc Bekoff, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0334 USA