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Edwin Fields, Headwaters Montana's, Passes On

March 9, 2020

Montana's wild has lost a friend.

It is with great sadness that we relate that EdwinFields, "President for Life" of HeadwatersMontana, passed away very unexpectedly, Monday, February 10, at his home in Whitefish,
surrounded by his family. He was 68 years old.

Edwin loved life, his Montana home, and his"home range" encompassing all of Northwest Montana. An avid hunter, hiker, backpacker, canoeist, and skier, Edwin spent much of his free time working to protect Montana's wild places, wild rivers, and wild critters. A person of action, he oft-repeated a personal motto, "If I'm not doing anything, I might as well be doing something." One of his most dedicated areas of "something" was fighting for nature.

He believed that if you were lucky enough to live in Montana you should do something of service to protect it. Edwin served on the state Council of the Montana Wilderness Association for many years, as well as president of the Flathead Kootenai Chapter of the Association for most of a decade. In 2006 he led the creation of Headwaters Montana that formed to address the range of conservation issues not encompassed by other regional organizations with narrower focus.

As president, Edwin helped direct Headwaters' work to address a range of conservation issues that spanned the international border with British Columbia, as well as a host of other more local issues. This included work to:

~Protect the North Fork Flathead watershed from energy and mining proposals in both British Columbia and Montana, resulting in the North Fork Watershed Protection Act of 2014.
~Formulate a conservation proposal to protect the remaining wild lands in the entire North Fork Flathead River Valley including BC.
~Protect the Kootenai River and Lake Koocanusa from mining contaminants issuing from Teck Resources five mountaintop removal coalmines in BC's Elk River Valley.
~Create the Whitefish Range Partnership that drew diverse interests from wilderness protection to timber management and motorized recreation to negotiate a management agreement for the 400,000- acre Whitefish Range as part of the Flathead National Forest management plan revision effort.
~Increase to 190,000-acres the areas of Recommended Wilderness" across the Flathead Forest as a result of the Flathead National Forest management plan revision process.
~Ensure that numerous timber sales, recreation, and travel plans on the Flathead National Forest protected wildlife and quiet recreational values.
~Advocate for the permanent protection of the Ten Lakes Wilderness Study Area in the face of Kootenai National Forest refusal to fairly and legally resolve management conflicts in the area.
~Help form "Oil Safe Flathead" and the goal of making safer the BNSF rail shipment of Bakken crude and other extremely hazardous materials through the Flathead Valley.
~And many others...

Edwin was friendly and direct in his conversation and action, and he was deeply committed. The Headwaters Montana board of directors has relied on Edwin leadership for the past 13 years. A true-blue friend and companion in the work to protect Montana's best wild places, we miss Edwin's cheerful and colorful leadership. We all smile with love at his indelible memory.

Dave Hadden, ED
Roger Sherman, President
Mike Oehlerich, Secretary
Steve Zwisler, Board Member
Dawain Burgess, Board Member