Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, October 12, 2023


Rick Bass, Yaak Valley Forest Council, (406) 295-9736,

Climate Aid: Sunday Concert in Maine to Benefit Old-Growth Forest Protection

PORTLAND, Maine— Renowned musicians, authors, poets and tribal elders will come together Sunday in Portland, Maine, to raise awareness about threats to northern Montana’s ancient Yaak Valley and support its designation as the nation’s first climate refuge. The event also will support efforts to protect all the country’s old-growth and mature forests on federal public lands from logging.

The event features singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers playing a guitar made from an ancient Englemann spruce, felled by a storm in northern Montana’s Yaak Valley at the edge of the proposed Black Ram logging project in Kootenai National Forest. A master luthier turned a piece of the 300-year-old tree into a guitar that now aims to help save the forest.

What: “Climate Aid: The Voice of the Forest,” a benefit to protect Montana’s Yaak Valley from logging by designating the region as the nation’s first climate refuge, and to protect all remaining mature and old-growth forests and trees on federal public lands.

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023

Where: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland, Maine, 04101

Who: Singer-songwriters Maggie Rogers and Alisa Amador; Halcyon String Quartet; poets Beth Ann Fennelly and Gary Lawless; environmentalists and authors Bill McKibben, Terry Tempest Williams and Rick Bass; Francis Auld and Leslie Caye, spiritual leaders with the Montana band of the Kootenai Tribe.

Tickets are available at the Merrill box office and online.

In August a federal judge scrapped the massive Black Ram logging project in Montana’s Kootenai National Forest, ruling in favor of the Center for Biological Diversity, Yaak Valley Forest Council, WildEarth Guardians and Alliance for the Wild Rockies. The order prohibited the U.S. Forest Service from implementing the project, which was expected to last 10 years.

The Black Ram project would have allowed nearly 4,000 acres of the Kootenai National Forest to be commercially logged, including clearcutting more than 1,700 acres and logging hundreds of acres of centuries-old trees. The project would have destroyed habitat for a largely isolated, fragile population of about 25 grizzly bears in the Yaak Valley.

Logging remains the greatest threat to old-growth and mature trees on federal public lands, with hundreds of thousands of acres at risk, from Oregon to Vermont.

Mature and old-growth forests are some of the most effective tools for combatting human-caused climate change and promoting biodiversity. These old trees store huge amounts of carbon and keep it out of the atmosphere. They also provide essential wildlife habitat and are the most fire-resilient trees in the forest.

Old multi-story forest, Yaak Valley, Kootenai National Forest. Photo credit: Yaak Valley Forest Council. Image is available for media use.

The Yaak Valley Forest Council works for a wild Yaak through science, education, and bold action across northwest Montana.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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