Jean Steele, President

Having spent most of her life in Montana, Jean loves the valley's small town atmosphere, which nevertheless provides cosmopolitan cultural opportunities.  Beyond the town centers, she has hiked, fished, and backpacked the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains for most of her life.  Excited to be a board member, she has long admired the Bitter Root Land Trust's efforts to maintain the rural, cultural character of our valley as well as sustain the beautiful natural resources we all cherish.

Peggy Ratcheson, Vice President

Peggy grew up in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. She was first introduced to the wonders of western Montana as a teenager, as has cared deeply about conserving its open spaces, mountainous terrains, agricultural heritage and natural resources ever since. She and her husband, Bob, have had a home in the Bitterroot Valley for over 35 years. With an M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology, Peggy taught in high school and college for many years – and pursued anthropological field research in an assortment of exotic places -- before retiring permanently to the Bitterroot in 2007. She embraced the BRLT Board as a way to help preserve in perpetuity all those things she has loved for so long about the Valley, and also serves on the Board of Bitterroot Trout Unlimited. In her spare time, she enjoys fly-fishing, hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, bird watching and cooking.

Tonia Bloom

Tonia Bloom, Secretary

"I came to the Bitterroot in 1972 and have witnessed many changes in the intervening years, but continue to be sustained by the beauty of the remaining agricultural landscapes and intact ecosystems. I’ve always believed each of us owes it to those who will come after us to try to leave the world and our community as good as – or even a little better – than we found them. The work of the Bitter Root Land Trust is one way to do that. It is an honor and privilege to serve on the board of this organization. "



 Andy Massie, Treasurer

 Andy began coming to the Bitterroot Valley in 2001 and has greatly enjoyed the fishing, hiking and cross country skiing.  A part timer for several years and now full time, he has seen the rapid change in land use now impacting the valley. The Bitter Root Land Trust is surely one of the best ways to help preserve the aspects of the Bitterroot we most love.  Andy was active in non-profits in Sonoma, California, where he initially retired. Now that he’s in the Bitterroot full-time, he looks forward to helping the Land Trust fulfill the rising need for its services in conservation.



Gail Goheen

Roger Gantz

I'm thrilled to be on the land trust board and help protect everything that makes the Bitterrot Valley so special.  I moved here with my family so we could enjoy a quality of life hiking trails, fishing rivers and streams, hunting elk, and enjoying those quiet sunsets against the backdrop of the Bitterroot mountains.  As a realtor, I see the value in the balance between conserved open lands and developed areas.  I'm fortunate to be a part of the land trust's mission to protect the beauty and integrity of this last best place. 




Gail Goheen

“I joined the Board of the Bitterroot Land Trust in 1999, at the time of its founding, and have continued to enthusiastically support it ever since. My main reason for being involved with the Land Trust is that it offers members of this community an opportunity to come together to preserve the best of the Bitterroot – its beauty, open space, wildlife habitat, and heritage. That’s the heart of why we all live here and love it so much.”  Gail is a sole practitioner in a Hamilton, Montana, specializing in Family Law. After receiving a B.A. from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and subsequently graduating from Tulane Law School in New Orleans in 1974, Gail clerked two years for the Honorable W.D. Murray (U.S. District Court, Butte, MT).   She has practiced law in Hamilton for the past 40 years. Prior to starting her own firm, she was a partner with Koch, Johnson, Weber and Goheen, PLLP. Gail has an AV rating with Martindale-Hubbell, and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. Gail has lectured various groups, including those affiliated with the State Bar, University of Montana, and NBI, Inc. Her memberships include the Western Montana Bar, the Montana State Bar, Ravalli County Bar, and ABA. Aside from the hustle and bustle of her successful practice, Gail maintains a true Montana lifestyle.

Tori Nobles

Tori grew up in the heart of the valley, attending twelve years at Corvallis schools, to graduate in 1977. She went out of state to college in Oregon, then California and did not return to Montana to live until 2002. She and husband Don, built their dream home on her grandfather’s pond, land that she had purchased in the early ‘80s. Upon return she has become active in her community, motivated by her desire to give back to the community that helped to raise her. She is active in the Corvallis American Legion Auxiliary and hobbies include raising and riding horses and fishing with her dad, Terry Nobles.

John Ormiston

Open, healthy land capable of sustaining wildlife populations and people is the most important legacy we can leave future generations of Montanans."
John is a retired wildlife biologist who worked at the Supervisor's Office for the Bitterroot National Forest for 32 years. A graduate of the University of North Dakota and the University of Idaho, he worked for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Butte before relocating his family to the Bitterroot Valley in 1974. John is very active in the community as a member of Kiwanis, Bitterroot Audubon, the County Park Board and the Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association. He is a member of the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital Board and Chairman of the Canyon Creek Irrigation District Board. He is on the board of the Rapp Family Foundation and currently serves as treasurer for the Foundation. John serves on the Development and Land Protection Committees.


Heather Riley

Raised in Hamilton, Heather's background has always been science related. This includes eight years of research at Rocky Mountian Laboratory through high school and college, political science, physical therapy, and exercise physiology, which she majored in at Pepperdine Universtiy, California. Currently she works at GlaxoSmithKline in Hamilton. Heather has lived all over from California and North Carolina, even across the Atlantic in Belgium, and is happy to call Montana her home. Being a local who has seen many changes to the Bitterroot Valley, she is proud to be a part fo the Bitter Root Land Trust and its efforts to conserve water, land and wildlife habitat for this and future generations. Heather spends much of her time in the outdoors with her husband Aaron and their daughter McKenna. They can often be found biking, skiing or on a local trail with faithful labs Tucker and Tikka in tow. Heather's well-rounded background brings a fresh dynamic to the board and BRLT as a whole.


Pete Seifert

Pete spent his childhood in beautiful Troy, MT and has been a pharmacist since graduating with a degree in pharmacy at the University of Montana in 1999. In 2006, Pete and his wife Jeni became the owners of Bitterroot Drug, Montana's oldest pharmacy since 1890. They enjoy being a part of the Hamilton community where they raise their three daughters Anna, Julia, and Claire. Pete became involved with the Bitter Root Land Trust because of his appreciation for the Bitterroot Valley's open space that enhances our agricultural heritage and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Lynn Thurber

Lynn is currently a member of the World Economic Forum Real Estate working group focused on developing sustainability principles for the real estate industry. She formerly chaired the Pension Real Estate Association, and is also a past member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate, the Board of the Toigo Foundation and a past member of the Real Estate Information Standards Board..  She is currently a member of The Chicago Network and the Wellesley College Business Leadership Council. Ms. Thurber was the 2013 recipient of the Landauer White award from the Counselors of Real Estate.