What is the Friends of Red Rock Lakes organization?
Our Friends Group is established as a Montana Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation, and is an IRS approved 501c3 tax exempt organization. By agreement with the US Fish and Wildlife service we are the non-profit partner of the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and provide a way for the public to engage in supporting the Refuge and its environs in Montana’s Centennial Valley. It is managed by a volunteer citizen team of Directors. Our Mission Statement is to: “Provide an independent citizen voice and support for the conservation and enhancement of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats in the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and Centennial Valley.”
Why was the Friends group created?
The Centennial Valley and the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is truly a special place in a land of special places. Its rich biodiversity, extensive wetlands, and variety of habitats complement the unique ecological value of the east-west orientation of The Centennial Mountain range. Connecting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) with vast wilderness area in Central Idaho, and north along the continental divide, the Centennial Valley serves as an essential wildlife corridor allowing bears, wolverines, other carnivores and ungulates to move freely throughout a broad range of habitat. The Centennial is a keystone ecosystem integrally linked to the biodiversity and viability of surrounding areas in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and beyond. This crucial component of the GYE needs our grassroots support, now, more than ever.
How does the Friends group intend to make a difference?
The current objectives of the organization are:
1) To establish a “Network of Friends” uniting an identified group of conscientious citizen conservationists/naturalists who recognize the Centennial Valley’s rich biological values, and the challenge of safeguarding the future of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Our Friends organization draws on the grass roots power that is an essential trend to protect and enhance our public lands in a time of demographic, environmental, economic and political change. Our focus on a specific area helps our group to be effectively mobilized as advocates, contributors, and the moral conscience of this key habitat within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
2) Provide opportunities for citizens to have a direct connection to the Refuge and surrounding landscape that will enhance understanding, appreciation and a sense of inclusion in a high priority conservation mission. We will provide our Friends access to relevant news and information to better understand the conservation problems and opportunities. We will keep our Friends advised about meetings, field trips, and other activities that are relevant to the fulfillment of the conservation mission of the Friends, the Refuge, their partners and other stakeholders.
3) Develop financial resources to better enable the Refuge leadership to pursue their planned objectives. Today’s political climate and budget cuts diminish the ability of the Refuge to complete the necessary projects to fulfill their mission. We can, and will help with private “conservation capital” fundraising to take up the fiscal slack. The structure of our Friends group keeps our operational expenses low, and allows us to maximize what we contribute for habitat enhancement and conservation progress. This helps avoid dilution of conservation capital donations, and maximizes the results of donors” investments.
Does it cost to join the Friends group?
There are no dues or fees to join our network and stay connected. We only ask that you recognize the importance of the Red Rock Lakes NWR, and its surrounding lands in the Centennial Range and Valley, and want to be part of its protection and enhancement.