Category Archive: News

  • 2016 Annual Report

    MOGA had an outstanding year of accomplishments because of the tireless efforts of many fine members, and of course, our staff. We are pleased to be able to communicate with our members and friends all what MOGA has done throughout the year and our plans going into 2017. We hope you enjoy taking a look through the 2016 MOGA Annual Report. View the 2016 Annual Report

  • Outfitting and dude ranch big business in Montana

    From The Great Falls Tribune March 6, 2017 It’s not unusual for tourism-related businesses to combine services, such as the dude ranch stays, pack trips and guided hunting trips offered by JJJ Wilderness Ranch out of Augusta, said Norma Nickerson, director of the Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research at the University of Montana. Providing a blend of related offerings, which all revolve at least partly on providing horses for riding and pack trips, “allows such businesses to be a little less seasonal,” she said. “They also get a different clientele in the summer enjoying dude ranch activities or scenic pack trips than those who might relish hunting trips in the fall.” Those sorts of services – dude ranches, pack trips and outfitter-guided hunts – are common throughout Montana and contribute a lot to state and local economies, Nickerson said. Overall Montana, a state of 1 million residents, experienced 12.3 million... Read full article

  • Front outdoors experience wins over New Hampshire family

    From The Great Falls Tribune March 6, 2017 New Hampshire farmer, businessman and educator Gray Cornwell is keen on the attractions of backcountry Montana and a big fan of the JJJ Wilderness Ranch and its owners Ernie and Kim Barker. Cornwell, now 53, first brought his wife Kitty and two daughters to spend a week at the Barkers’ dude ranch in 1990. “I wanted to give my family a western dude ranch experience, and did a lot of research,” he recalled. “It was in beautiful country and they provided an option in which my daughters could either participate with us in family horse trips or take separate, shorter kids’ trips. Our daughters loved it.” Read Full Story

  • Outfitting business: Dude ranch is a year round job

    From The Great Falls Tribune March 6, 2017 Each year from June to late November Ernie and Kim Barker managing pack trips, arrange meals and dude ranch activities and serve customers’ needs and oversee staff at the scenic JJJ Wilderness Ranch west of Augusta. They hire and train seasonal employees in May and run both weekly dude ranch activities and regular horse pack trips into the Bob Marshall Wilderness – two complementary roles with overlapping schedules that are particularly busy from mid-June to early September. There are no days off for the Barkers, who plan and manage activities and pitch in as cooks, horse wranglers, fishing guides or a variety of other tasks as needed. Read the Full Story

  • Daines, Tester, Zinke Introduce Legislation to Reverse Disastrous Court Ruling

    Daines, Tester, Zinke Introduce Legislation to Reverse Disastrous Court Ruling Cottonwood Decision Harms Commonsense Forest Management Projects December 9, 2016 U.S. CONGRESS —U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester and U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke today underscored the urgency in reversing the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. U.S. Forest Service by introducing bipartisan bicameral legislation to do just that. The bill seeks to codify the Obama administration’s position that federal agencies are not required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service at a programmatic level when new critical habitat is designated or a new species is listed. “Congress needs to take urgent action to reverse the disastrous activist court ruling for the sake of forest health, recreation, and watershed and habitat protection,” Daines stated. “By seeking a simple fix and codifying the Obama... Read full article

  • Veterans Day bulls: Service members receive donated Elkhorn tags for hunt of a lifetime

    TOM KUGLIN, Independent Record It is perhaps the most coveted elk tag in Montana and 1st Sgt. Roger Dover and Spc. Will Hikes each had one in their pockets as they headed out to hunt the morning of Veterans Day. The Elkhorn Mountains south of Helena hold some of the finest bull elk in the state and also some of the longest odds of drawing a permit. Last year nearly 11,000 hunters applied for the 120 permits — a 1.11 percent chance and often considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But a law passed in 2013 allows a permit holder to transfer his or her hunting privileges to a Purple Heart recipient. When a husband and wife from Three Forks both drew they decided to do just that. Enter Big Hearts Under the Big Sky, the charitable arm of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association specializing in hunts for children with life-threatening illnesses, women with breast cancer and military members. The organization has donated more than... Read full article

  • Elk Tracks: Why I-177 is a BAD Idea

    From Elk Tracks  Posted October 4, 2016 “North America is home to the most plentiful and healthiest wildlife populations in the world. The key to carrying that out is wildlife management or, in other words, using the best available science to balance the continuing needs of wildlife with the needs of humans. Biologists, scientists, game wardens, wildlife professors and other professionals agree wildlife management is vital to the health of species and habitat. State wildlife agencies and their existing science-based public process, not ballot box measures, should determine how wildlife management is implemented. Ballot box measures open the door to dangerous consequences….” Continue reading at

  • Updated Website Offers New Tools for Members and Visitors

    We are thrilled to announce the launch of our cutting-edge new  MOGA website! The updated website is designed to serve members in innovative ways and provide outdoor enthusiasts with the resources they need to plan their next great Montana adventure. The initiative to design and develop a new MOGA website was made possible by a grant from the Montana Department of Tourism. With this grant, along with the organization’s own resources, MOGA leadership embarked on a process to develop a new website that would serve members in distinctive new ways and help promote Montana as a premier destination for travel and recreation. “We are extremely proud to unveil this updated website which we believe will help serve our members and assist visitors in dramatic new ways,” said Mac Minard, Executive Director of MOGA. “After gathering extensive feedback from focus groups, members and MOGA leaders, we worked to develop a site that would best... Read full article

  • Anti-trapping initiative goes before voters on Nov. 8 Trapping is an emotional and divisive issue in Montana, with opponents labeling it a barbaric practice that depletes wildlife and natural resources, and supporters calling it a sustainable, centuries-old way to fetch some extra cash, control predators and teach youngsters about the natural world. This fall, voters will see an initiative on the November ballot called I-177 that would ban commercial and recreational trapping on public lands with exceptions for protecting livestock and property and for public health and safety. It would not affect trapping on private land, which constitutes roughly two-thirds of the state. A group called Montanans for Trap-Free Public Lands, composed of several Missoula residents, got enough signatures to get I-177 on the ballot this year. According to Montana Fish,... Read full article

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