Our mission as a non-profit organization is to work in partnership with Montana State Parks to build our collective capacity to save, restore, maintain, develop, enhance, and interpret Fort Owen State Park and its associated sites and artifacts for future generations.
We work to build recognition of the historic significance that Ft. Owen played in the settlement of the Northwest and United States and strive to enhance its visibility as an educational and economic/tourism asset to the community of Stevensville, Ravalli County, and the State of Montana.
Our Board of Directors
Margaret Gorski, President
Margaret is retired from a long career in the US Forest Service during which time she spent 8 years as the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Coordinator from 1998-2006. She is one of the founders and current President of the Friends of Fort Owen because she believes that Fort Owen is an important educational and tourism asset to our community.
Philip Maechling, Vice President
Philip Maechling is a former historic preservation officer for Missoula, Montana, preservation consultant, and executive committee member of the Montana Heritage Commission.
Ruth Baker, Secretary & Treasurer
Ruth Baker has been interested in and involved with the restoration and history of Fort Owen since 1981. She has been an active volunteer and officer with the Stevensville Historical Museum since 1989 and has been involved with the Friends of Fort Owen since its inception.
Sue Kardaras, Board Member
Sue Kardaras is retired after a long career in business management. She has a passion for local history and cares deeply about the preservation of Fort Owen. Sue has been actively participating with the Friends of Fort Owen from its beginning.
Pamela Priem, Board Member
Pamela Priem has been fascinated with museums and history since she was two years old. When in Golden, Colorado, she was associated with the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, the Astor House Museum, and the Clear Creek History Park. She has also performed as Calamity Jane at the Ravalli County Museum and in London. Pamela is a board member of The Stevensville Historical Museum and the Friends of Fort Owen.
Lorraine Roach, Board Member
Lorraine Roach is a strategic planner and business owner with a passion for history and rural communities. She has assisted Friends of Fort Owen with grantmaking, planning, and tourism development activities.
Sara Scott, Board Member
Sara Scott’s career in archaeology spans over four decades including years as a private consultant and as a program manager for various state and federal agencies. Most recently, Sara oversaw the history and archaeology program at Montana State Parks. Sara holds an M.S. in Anthropology from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Montana. Her research interests include pre-contact stone tool production, rock art, and travel and exchange networks. This work is published in archaeological journals such as Plains Anthropologist, the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, Archaeology in Montana, and the International Journal of Historic Archaeology.
Chris Weatherly, Board Member
Chris Weatherly has been a Historic Preservation carpenter for 35 years. He built the Fort Owen post and beam archway, and also has worked on Chief Plenty Coups̓ house in Pryor for Montana State Parks.
Montana State Parks offer volunteer opportunities for individuals of all ages, families with children, as well as service groups and clubs. Find out how you can volunteer at the MSP website.
Spend a few hours or a full day as an on-site host who greets visitors and answers questions. Usually scheduled during the busiest part of the tourist season.
On-Site Maintenance Worker
Conducts periodic maintenance tasks like mowing the lawn, staining, painting, litter pickup.
Tour Guide or Interpreter
Conducts scheduled interpretive programs.
Special Events Coordinator
Coordination of annual special events, such as craft shows, primitive skills demonstrations, etc.
Friends of Fort Owen Board Member
Board members with experience in historic preservation, tourism, interpretation, marketing, and partnerships are especially valuable.
Partnership with Montana State Parks
Friends of Fort Owen is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that works with Montana State Parks under an annual Memorandum of Agreement. The agreement spells out the relationship we have with Montana State Parks. According to Montana State Parks operational priorities, we raise funding and provide volunteer labor to accomplish preservation tasks and conduct annual maintenance. Your membership and donations contribute to our annual operational costs, help build our preservation resources, and contribute to the annual maintenance of the historic resources and interpretive assets at the park. It also helps support speaker fees and supplies needed for educational programs.