Montana has a long tradition of listening to and respecting — revering — its writers and the state’s literary tradition. In an unprecedented show of unity, more than forty of Montana’s best writers have gathered, in rapid response fashion, to write original essays and testimonials advocating for the protection of our public lands, and endorsing Democratic House of Representatives candidate Rob Quist’s position on this (literally) most common ground of issues. Please vote on May 25.


Shann Ray

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The value of our public lands in Montana cannot be underestimated: it is lifeblood to the heart of the nation. I understand our public lands to be physical, visceral, and worthy of complete devotion. To me they are an essence, the spirit of God moving over the waters, a place of mountains, rivers, sky, and plains, a home of soul, the embodiment of ultimate expansion in people, a place robust with natural fierceness and beauty, a vessel of unconditional atonement, a humbling landscape, a land where mercy and justice meet one another, a place where truth and beauty kiss each other. Sacredness exists in the wilderness of landscape, animals, forests, wildlife, and in the wilderness of the human heart. Our public lands summon this sacredness. I unite with others to declare we protect, preserve, and expand our public lands forever.

Shann Ray, author of American Masculine, grew up in Montana and still wanders the nearly 100 mountain ranges as often as he can.