$530,000 gift to help land trust protect Whychus Creek

February 23, 2017
$530,000 gift to help land trust protect Whychus Creek

Donation from prominent banker, native Oregonian

BEND, Ore. - The Deschutes Land Trust announced Thursday that it has received a gift of $530,000 for its Campaign for Whychus Creek from Tom and Janet Montag of New York. It represents the largest individual gift of the campaign, with over $1.6 million raised from private individual contributions.

A native Oregonian, Tom Montag has long held a deep passion for salmon and steelhead, the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic species.

The Deschutes Land Trust’s effort to protect salmon and steelhead habitat first caught his attention in 2003, when he contributed to the Land Trust’s effort to establish the 1,240-acre Metolius Preserve on Lake Creek, a key tributary to Oregon’s storied Metolius River.

The Metolius River was most recently in the news as the spawning ground for more than 500 native sockeye salmon that returned to the Upper Deschutes Basin this fall as part of a regional effort to restore salmon and steelhead to 220 miles of former habitats in Central Oregon.

Born and raised in Beaverton, Montag went on to become a prominent international banker, currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Bank of America and based in New York City. Yet he never forgot his roots and has long been passionate about seeing the return of Oregon’s most iconic species to the upper Deschutes River.

“I grew up in Oregon, but have lived and worked all over the world. I’ve seen what can happen when you don’t protect special places," Montag said. "For me, salmon define the Northwest, with their amazing journey to the North Pacific and then all the way back to these headwater streams in Central Oregon.

"I invest in the Land Trust’s conservation work to help ensure these streams are still there for my children and grandchildren and all the wildlife that depend on them. I hope my commitment to the Land Trust’s campaign inspires those lucky enough to live in Central Oregon to help with the campaign in any way they can,” Montag said.

“Tom Montag and his family have played a major role in protecting the iconic lands Oregonians so value," said Land Trust Executive Director Brad Chalfant. "With his help, we can now see the finish line for our Campaign for Whychus Creek. To date, we’ve had over 650 contributors to the campaign, and I’m confident that our community will continue to step up to support our vision for Whychus Creek as a remarkable legacy for generations to come.”

Launched in 2014, the Land Trust’s Campaign for Whychus Creek aims to protect the highest-quality wildlife habitat along Whychus Creek, ensure the permanent stewardship of those lands for generations to come, and engage the community in caring for this unique resource.

In the first two years of the campaign, the Land Trust protected an additional 2.25 miles of Whychus Creek and finalized an agreement to purchase the 1,120 acre Rimrock Ranch, which includes another two miles of Whychus Creek. Over the next five months, the Land Trust hopes to raise an additional $400,000 from local contributors.

The Deschutes Land Trust conserves land for wildlife, scenic views, and local communities. As Central Oregon’s only nationally-accredited and locally-based land trust, the Deschutes Land Trust has protected more than 8,770 acres since 1995. For more information on Deschutes Land Trust, contact them at (541) 330-0017 or visit www.deschuteslandtrust.org.

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