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1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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Bill Potter

Bill PotterForestry Pioneer

Bill was a true pioneer for land conservation in the Blackfoot Valley. An accomplished horseman, packer, skier, snowmobiler and Mission Mountains Wilderness hiker, Bill may be most remembered for his efforts in developing techniques and equipment for logging with modified farm equipment. working with the University of Montana's Lubrecht Forest, local saw and pulp mills, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, state of Montana and others, he initiated efforts in the early 1970's to utilize small pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle for pulp logs, pulp chips and hog fuel.

Bill also played a major role in cooperative conservation projects in the valley. He and adjacent landowners and public agencies established the first walk-in hunting areas in western Montana in the mid-1970's, a precursor to the Block Management Program now administered by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Many of the same landowners and public agencies created the Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor, which allowed for public access across private lands along a 30 - mile stretch of the Blackfoot River - a precursor to the state's Stream Access Law. In 1998, Bill and other family members donated a conservation easement on their 4,000-acre ranch to the Nature Conservancy of Montana - the first one in Montana that required proactive and sustainable forest management.

Over the years, Bill and his wife Betty have received numerous awards from private and public entities for their contribution to land stewardship, for encouraging collaboration between private and public landowners, and for working with various recreational communities in the Blackfoot Valley.