Retirement makes you think about what's important, and for me, supporting American Prairie Reserve hits the top of my list. As a young girl, I listened to the Lone Ranger on the radio and became fascinated by the American West. After purchasing a home in Bozeman, I wanted to share my Montana experience with my sister Liz and invited her out for a visit in 2007.
The notion of an organization rekindling the spirit of the "great American Prairie" was so enthralling that I couldn't resist a visit. As we navigated the rough washboard roads leading into American Prairie Reserve, Liz suddenly yelled, "Stop the car! There are baby foxes along the road." We parked and turned off the engine, watching the kits peek out at us from a grassy ditch. We were so taken by them we stayed for 30 minutes until they were brave enough to hop out of the ditch and run home.
As we continued down the road, the incredible scale of the Reserve became apparent. Stopping at the Prairie Union Schoolhouse, we wandered in and imagined what the students' lives might have been like. As the day went on, we drove through prairie dog towns, stopped at small streams, and were captured by how the topography had been shaped by ice-age glaciers. By late afternoon, we decided to hit pavement and head for home, navigating by the sun (like pioneers!) to find our way west.
Our time on APR was more than a road-trip. It was a life altering experience that left me with total appreciation for the project. The Reserve has grown a great deal since 2007 - new land acquisitions have broadened its horizons and directional signs point the way down winding roads. I'm honored to be a part of this project and look forward to contributing and volunteering with American Prairie Reserve in the years ahead.