Bill to name mountain after conservationist passes Senate

by Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Michael Wright

A push to name a mountain after a prominent conservationist has taken a major step forward.

A bill to name a 9,675-foot peak in the Madison Range after the late Alex Diekmann has cleared the U.S. Senate and is on its way to the U.S. House.

Diekmann, who died of cancer in 2016, worked as a project manager for the Trust for Public Land for 16 years. He worked on conservation easements and land deals all over Montana, including several in the Madison Valley and the Gallatin Canyon.

The bill was co-sponsored by Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and Democrat U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. It also has support from Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, who introduced a companion version in the House.

The delegation praised the bill’s passage in a joint statement Wednesday night.

Sen. Daines said Diekmann “brought Montanans together to balance the needs of local landowners, ranchers and foresters, local cities and towns, county commissions, and federal and state interests to protect our public lands.”

Sen. Tester said Diekmann’s impact “to conservation and outdoor recreation will be felt for generations to come.”

Rep. Gianforte said naming the peak for Diekmann “is a tribute to a man who united people to protect our public lands. Alex embodied the spirit of working together that defines Montana.”

Diekmann worked on more than 55 projects that covered more than 100,000 acres of land. He was based in Bozeman.

In the Madison Valley, he worked on Three Dollar Bridge, the restoration of O’Dell Creek and a land deal on the Sun Ranch south of Cameron. The last project he worked on was in Whitefish.

After his death at the age of 52, local governments and conservation groups began pushing the delegation for a bill to name a peak after him. It will have to clear the House and be signed into law before the peak is named for him.

The bill’s passage came the same day that a bill to designate East Rosebud Creek as Wild and Scenic also passed the Senate. The designation would protect from future development 20 miles of the creek, which begins in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness in southcentral Montana. That bill also has the support of the full delegation.