Hooked on the Gallatin Educates, Raises Funds and Inspires Hope for River Conservation

By Jen Clancey, Explore Big Sky Digital Producer –

Anyone working to conserve rivers has a story. For Tom Kiernan, CEO of the river-focused conservation nonprofit, American Rivers, that story began at the river across the street from his family’s home in Washington, D.C. Kiernan grew up in a small family and lost his father in the Vietnam War. He and his older brother would spend their free time by the creek, where water would eventually flow into the Potomac River.

“It was honestly, that amount of time spent in that creek and around the Potomac River where I felt comfort and found a sense of peace,” Kiernan said. That feeling stuck with him in high school when he learned about the environment in an environmental science class. “This place that gives me peace, these creeks, these rivers; that takes care of me emotionally, there’s a science to all of this and there are some threats.”

On Friday, Aug. 4, the annual Hooked on the Gallatin charity dinner and auction in Big Sky worked to address the issues threatening Montana’s riverscapes. People mingled under the Big Sky Events Arena tent during a rainy evening to enjoy hors d’oeurvre, bid on big ticket auction items and learn about river conservation from a star-studded panel. The proceeds went towards the Gallatin River Task Force and American Rivers for river conservation.