The people of Montana owe a debt of gratitude to the people of Maine who raised their voices to stop the Black Ram timber sale in northwest Montana’s Yaak Valley. I can’t think of another time an entire state has stood up to defend a forest thousands of miles away. But Maine has. And it is our privilege to celebrate the defense of Black Ram with music, poetry and kinship Sunday night at Merrill Auditorium with “Climate Aid: The Voice of the Forest.” Tickets are still available at PortTix.

For long years, Yaak Valley Forest Council has worked tirelessly alongside a community of people for whom old forests matter, people who believe we can turn this Edenic rainforest into the world’s first climate refuge: a place of great carbon storage and rare beauty, a place for research and, not least of all, a place where the Montana band of the Kootenai Tribe can restore their relationship to their ancestral land. I’m so grateful to Francis Auld and Leslie Caye for bringing their ancestral song to Portland and know they will be warmly welcomed at Merrill.

It will be an amazing night. When Maggie Rogers learned about Black Ram, her response was emphatic and generous. The guitar she will play was made in Montana from a 315-year-old windfallen spruce at the edge of the forest. When he started the years-long process of curing the wood and shaping the guitar, luthier Kevin Copp asked, “Can one tree save a forest?”

We believe it can. Come hear for yourself.

I look forward to hosting the evening alongside our guests from across the country: Maggie, Francis, Leslie, Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben and Beth Ann Fennelly. Every person in the Merrill Auditorium will make a difference. See you Sunday.

Rick Bass
Troy, Montana

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