In 2010, One Montana began facilitating a working group called Common Ground which is a partnership[1] of Montana landowners, outfitters and sportsmen who have been working together over the last several years to solve difficult issues concerning access and land stewardship in Montana. The group’s mission is to find win/win/win solutions for landowners, sportsmen and wildlife. This has not been easy. However, the organizations and individuals who are partners in this effort are moving beyond the contentious nature of these issues and are dedicated to building trust with one another in order to develop viable solutions to the difficult issues they face together.

One of the challenges that the group has discussed is hunter behavior in Montana. The Common Ground group believes that hunting is a privilege and not a right; and although it has been criticized by some, it is an important part of our Nation’s heritage and wildlife management system. As both land ownership and hunter behavior have changed, hunting access has become more limited and contentious. In an attempt to improve landowner-sportsmen relations as well as create more access opportunities for hunters, Common Ground is now developing this comprehensive, advanced hunter education program designed to put more ethical, educated, and effective hunters in the field.

The Role of One Montana
One Montana is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to moving Montana forward through rural-urban partnerships. We do this by managing what most nonprofits and communities often do not have the time or resources to do – the collaboration of likely and unlikely partners to build large-scale initiatives to solve our state’s challenges. We are firm believers that we are far more connected than divided.

Our unique position as a collaborative entity whose mission is to bridge the rural-urban divide enables us to be the appropriate catalyst and facilitator of this work. Our rural-urban networks allow us to ensure that a diverse group of voices are heard and engaged in productive actions and solutions for Montana.

Over the life of our organization we have successfully launched and managed a number of other programs that build new rural-urban partnerships while also addressing key state needs including: entrepreneurship training and career readiness for high school students; an undergraduate ranch management program for a land grant university; and new potential revenue opportunities within local food processing.

We have demonstrated the capacity to successfully manage a variety of projects and collaborations and are confident that with your investment and participation, the Common Ground program will continue to develop grassroots, long term solutions for the future.

[1] Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Grain Growers, Montana Wildlife Federation, Montana Bowhunters Association, Montana Sportsmen’s Alliance, Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Western Landowners Alliance, and several individual outfitters and ranchers.