Amy Rae Pearson knows a thing or two about Montana. And she should — her family has lived there for quite a while. A fifth-generation Montanan, Amy is as closely connected to the state’s wild places as she is with her own kin. Her close connection to nature informed many of her educational and professional endeavors over the years, which are plentiful and impressive. Amy is a professor and poet inspired by the natural world. Between her Ph.D. in organizational communication, experience as the former president of Montana Wilderness Association’s Flathead Chapter and deep roots in the West, she is inspired and motivated by our wild places. That makes her the perfect person to join Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness as the full-time Northwest Montana coordinator. She’ll direct programs and community events for the Scotchman Peaks-adjacent communities in Montana, bringing a personal touch to each new undertaking. Amy shared a few of her thoughts with us as she prepares to take on her new role.
FSPW: What are your feelings starting the new position?
ARP: I am thrilled to start my position as an Outreach Coordinator for FSPW in Lincoln and Sanders Counties! As one of my friends puts it, I am a person who ‘orients myself to the land’; my natural inclination in a place is to aim to understand the mystery of the geography and all its elements. I have been working on issues of Wilderness and landscape in various Amy Rae Pearson to guide Montana programs ways throughout my lifetime. I feel lucky, motivated and ready to devote myself to work that engages the passion in my heart for wild places and people. I am honored to do this important work.
FSPW: What are some of the first objectives you want to tackle in the role?
ARP: I have a lot to learn! My first objectives are to start meeting the people and places of Sanders and Lincoln Counties. This is beautiful and vast country over here with a unique history and heritage of its own. I want to hike the trails, hear the stories, drive the dirt roads, write some things down. I am thirsty for community, and anxious to grow connections in the area and on the land.
FSPW: What does Scotchman Peaks mean to you personally?
ARP: The Scotchman Peaks represent the ideal possibility of what Americans can accomplish. Our history shows that we can work together to preserve wild places in the West. This is one of those places that deserves our attention and protection. The first time I went up Scotchman Peak proper last summer, I was deeply inspired by the vastness and natural beauty connecting Idaho and Montana. You could spend your life learning this country, and what a beautiful life, indeed.