CONDON - The big bulls will feel secure coming down from the high country a little earlier when they hear of the passing of William R. "Bud" Moore. The grizzlies may feel something is missing from the Swan Valley when they wake up next spring.
Bud began "The Big Trip" on Friday, Nov. 26, 2010. His son, Bill, and friend, Gordon Somerville, were present to help him "pack up the string."
Bud was born in the railroad section foreman's house in Florence on Oct. 19, 1917, son of William and Hazel Moore. Bud graduated from Woodman Elementary School on the Lolo Fork of the Bitterroot River. He rounded out his education listening to and learning from the land, a process he kept up throughout an active and engaged life.
In June 1974, the University of Montana awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science Degree for his contributions to natural resource conservation.
Bud was the quintessential "Mountain Man." He ran winter trap lines on his way to and from Woodman School, and cached his pack and rifle away from the school yard while in class. As a teenager, he purchased a long-line trap line down the Lochsa River and up on the Lolo Trail. Winters were spent trapping.
In 1934, at age 16, he started working for the U.S. Forest Service on fire crews. Bud worked seasonally until World War II as lookout, trail crew foreman, fire dispatcher and alternate ranger on the Powell Ranger District.
Bud spent three years in the Marine Corps during World War II as a machine gunner, scout sniper, and finally a gunnery sergeant. He served in the Peleliu, Cape Gloucester, New Britain, and Okinawa South Pacific campaigns.
Following the war, he returned to the Powell District and in 1949 was appointed ranger. He subsequently spent time in the Supervisor's Office in Missoula, then in Utah and Washington, D.C., and retired in 1974 as chief of the Division of Fire Control and Air Operations for the Forest Service's 29-million-acre Northern Region. During his Forest Service career he never lost his connection to his beloved Lochsa Country and the lands he worked and managed.
In 1996, he published "The Lochsa Story - Land Ethics in the Bitterroot Mountains." This book turned out to be both a historical adventure and a textbook of sorts for those interested in forested ecosystem management. He was one of the founders of the current wilderness fire management policy and had the authority and confidence to orchestrate its early implementation.
He was a forerunner of the thought process that led to the concepts of ecosystem management that are widely practiced today. He put his ideas into practice on his own 80-acre Condon homestead and was in the process of developing a similar plan for a 200-plus-acre parcel he owned in Mineral County. Bud started with the Forest Service when you could carry the rule book in your hip pocket, and ended up answering e-mails on his personal laptop.
Bud was in some respects a contradictory conservationist: a great hunter who was dedicated to wildlife conservation and management, a trapper who never set a trap inside his trap-line circle to maintain a sustainable population, and an ecological forestry practitioner who was a logger and sawmill owner. He believed that resource harvest did not have to sacrifice sustainability.
Bud leaves a dual legacy. One will be on the land in actions and deeds. The other will be implemented by the people he influenced through his stories, observations and thoughts. He was a source of knowledge who had been there at the start, understood the whys of long-ago actions, and yet remained connected to the outcomes and policies of today. He loved visiting with the young people who will be the decision-makers of tomorrow. He will live on in the actions of all who knew him.
A simple service will be held 1-2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, at the Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula, followed by burial at the Florence-Carlton Cemetery up the Bitterroot Valley. We will also rendezvous for a celebration of life and many rounds of story telling in mid-July, 2011, near Bud's home territory.