Ducks Unlimited volunteer Pat Nolan’s legacy of supporting waterfowl conservation will live on through generous contributions to Ducks Unlimited’s prairie conservation work and a new accessible blind dedicated in his honor in Montana’s Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Nolan died in 2015 following a long battle with multiple sclerosis. Construction of the blind was led by DU volunteer Steve Cunningham, and completed by two sons and five grandsons of Nolan's, with assistance from refuge staff.
With flights of canvasbacks riding the cold October winds, Ducks Unlimited volunteers, supporters and refuge staff gathered to celebrate. A bronze plaque was unveiled that tells the story of Nolan's Ducks Unlimited work and lists the names of major sponsors who fund DU’s mission in his name.
The dedication and a Big Sky, Montana, dinner capped off the year-long Pat Nolan tribute that raised more than $750,000 in major gifts for conservation in Montana, across the prairies of the U.S. and other priority areas. The Prairie Pothole Region of northeast Montana was one of Nolan's favorite hunting areas, where he could witness the impact Montana has as one of the country’s top waterfowl producers. The Americans with Disabilities Act compliant blind helps people with mobility challenges enjoy the bountiful fall flights.
Sean Lofgren, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service project leader at Medicine Lake, said the blind will be used for hunting, wildlife observation and wildlife photography.
Hunters with a disability conservation license who are interested in hunting the blind and obtaining special vehicle access should call the Medicine Lake NWR at 406-789-2305.