Tester Announces Four Speakers for Last Best Outdoors Fest

Business for Montana’s Outdoors, Montana Brewers Association, REI, and The North Face to Celebrate State’s Booming Outdoor Economy

(Big Sandy, Mont.)­-U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced four high-profile speakers will be headlining the Last Best Outdoors Fest in Columbia Falls this Tuesday.

Host of Hunt Talk Radio and Fresh Tracks TV Randy Newberg, professional ski mountaineer and adventurer Caroline Gleich, REI’s Community & Government Affairs Manager Taldi Walter, and The North Face Athlete and climber Conrad Anker will be taking the stage at The Coop to highlight the importance of Montana’s outdoor economy. The Last Best Outdoors Fest with Senator Jon Tester is hosted by Business for Montana’s Outdoors, Montana Brewers Association, REI, and The North Face.

“I am thrilled that Randy, Caroline, Taldi and Conrad will be joining us for this celebration of Montana’s public lands, the businesses it supports and the jobs it creates,” said Tester. “Montana’s outdoor economy is booming and this event will highlight this growing sector of our state.”

Last Best Outdoors Fest
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
4:00 – 8:00 pm
The Coop Columbia Falls, Montana

The Last Best Outdoors Fest is free and open to the public and will feature networking opportunities for Montana business owners, new research on the economic impacts of Montana’s public lands, a Montana craft-beer garden, local food trucks, live music, and activities for kids.

Headwaters Economic Research is planning to reveal new research analyzing Montana’s economy, what’s driving performance, and which new business sectors are increasing along with a geographic analysis of recent growth in the state. The report will include a discussion of how federal lands give Montana a competitive advantage by helping to attract people, investment and businesses to the state.

The event also commemorates the 5-year anniversary of Business for Montana’s Outdoors, which includes 140 businesses responsible for more than 3,600 Montana jobs.


Randy Newberg is a hunter and a voice of the public land hunter in America. Decades of chasing all species across public lands has provided both experience and perspective that has allowed Randy to become the leading advocate for the self-guided hunter; hunters dependent upon public lands for hunting access. What started by accident, has grown into two popular TV shows, Fresh Tracks and On Your Own Adventures, accompanied by the long-standing Hunt Talk web forum. Now added to those platforms is the Hunt Talk Podcast where you get Randy Newberg, unfiltered. Randy uses his platforms to advocate for hunters and public access. In addition to representing hunters in Congress and state legislatures, he serves as a volunteer and board member for many hunting and conservation groups.

Caroline Gleich is a professional ski mountaineer and adventurer based in Salt Lake City, UT. When she’s not on snow, she loves trail running, alpine climbing, ridge scrambling, biking and dreaming about her next human-powered adventure. You may have seen her on the cover of Powder, Backcountry or Ski Magazines or in a ski films. A nature lover since birth, Caroline uses her voice as an athlete to advocate for the environment, working on issues such as public land conservation, clean air and cyber harassment with non-profits such as Protect Our Winters, HEAL Utah, Wilderness Society and brands such as Patagonia, Keen, Clif Bar and REI. Caroline’s goal is to inspire people to get outside, live a healthy, active lifestyle and protect the places we love to play.

Taldi Walter is a native Montanan who grew up in the Flathead Valley. As REI’s community & government affairs manager she oversees REI’s national giving program and federal government affairs. Her work focuses on fostering collaborative partnerships with national non-profits and decision makers to ensure access to and infrastructure for inspiring outdoor recreation opportunities. Taldi serves on the Board of Directors of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, Bike Works, the Mountains to Sound Technical Advisory Committee, and is on the steering committee of the Blue Sky Funders Forum, and the Outdoor Alliance for Kids. Raised in the Flathead, Taldi is an avid outdoors woman. She enjoys hiking, camping, fly fishing, mountaineering, and skiing.

Conrad Anker is a climber’s climber. Over decades in the mountains, he has come to value the rarified air of Antarctica, the Himalaya and Montana equally; inspired by the value of immersion in other ecosystems and cultures, he’s become more fully enmeshed in both the physical and communal landscape of his hometown of Bozeman. His journey has taken him from the northern realms of Alaska and Baffin Island to the farthest southern reaches of Patagonia and Antarctica. In May 2012, Conrad summited Everest for the third time, leading an educational and research-based expedition to the Southeast Ridge with The North Face, National Geographic, The Mayo Clinic and Montana State University. As captain of the The North Face Athlete Team, Conrad has something of a pulpit, and he’s quick to use it, urging, for instance, climbers to be boots on the ground in observing the changes wrought by man-made climate change. He’s also civically active at home, serving on the boards of the Montana State University Leadership Institute, Protect Our Winters, Bozeman Ice Tower Foundation, Gallatin County Fair Board and the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation, a Montana based non-profit that funds the Khumbu Climbing Center in Phortse, Nepal.