Bill to honor Alex Diekann with mountain passes House Natural Resources Committee

by Great Falls Tribune, Sarah Dettmer

The legacy of conservationist Alex Diekmann is one step closer to being cemented in the mountains he loved.

The Alex Diekmann Peak Designation Act of 2017 has passed the House Natural Resources Committee and is up for consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill calls for naming Peak 9,765 in the Madison Range of the Rocky Mountains after Alex. The proposed “Alex Diekmann Peak” is located in one of the areas he worked to secure a conservation easement. The peak straddles the boundary between the Sun Ranch and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.

“We are one step closer to getting this bill on the president’s desk and naming a wild mountain peak after a Montana outdoor champion,” Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., said in a statement. “Alex Diekmann represented the very best of Montana and this bill will guarantee his lasting legacy for generations to come.”

The bill is sponsored by all of Montana’s senators and congressmen.

“Alex Diekmann’s contributions to Montana’s public lands will have a lasting impact on our state and now his name will be forever remembered,” Senator Steve Daines, R-Mont, said in a statement. “I look forward to hiking the peak in his honor.”

The peak looks over the Madison Valley, a place where Alex spent nearly as much time working as he did recreating. Alex’s wife Lisa said this area had a special place in Alex’s heart. He and his sons would often head to the valley from Bozeman to fish.

Before he passed away in February 2017, Alex worked with the Trust for Public Land to head projects that conserved more than 125,000 acres of land and contributed to the conservation of hundreds of thousands more. Now, politicians are working to name a mountain peak after him to preserve his legacy in the region.

“He wanted to do a job that would be meaningful and have a lasting impact,” Lisa said. “We were married for 34 years, I really knew him. He truly cared. His work was never a burden. The only thing more important to him was his children.”

Alex was inspired by the land and made a passionate career out of defending and conserving it. He wasn’t working for recognition or praise. Alex devoted his life to protecting and conserving land because it was what he loved.

“He was one of the lucky folks who found his passion and made a career of it,” said Dick Dolan, Northern Rockies director for the Trust of Public Lands. “He was a force, for sure.”

Alex began his work for the Bozeman office of the Trust of Public Lands in 2000 and helped establish the region as a consistent area of work for the national organization. His work stretched from Gallatin and Madison County to lands in central and northern Idaho.

“Alex Diekmann was responsible for 55 projects that now protect over 100,000 acres, including many of the most iconic landscapes of the Northern Rockies,” Congressman Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., said in a statement. “Naming the peak after Alex is a tribute to a man who united people to protect our public lands. Alex embodied the spirit of working together that defines Montana.”

Dolan said Alex had a gift in understanding the wants, needs and constraints associated with landowners and land conservation. Alex helped facilitate conservation easements and even buying and conveying land to public agencies and communities when necessary.

“The public doesn’t know how indebted they are to him,” Dolan said. “There is so much public land that wouldn’t be without him.”