Alex Diekmann in Granger Ranches

From left, Jeff Laszlo, Yvon Chouinard and Alex Diekmann are seen at O’Dell Creek in Granger Ranches, Madison Valley, west of Bozeman, in this undated photo.

A number of conservation groups and local governments have expressed support for naming a mountain in the Madison Range after a prominent conservationist who died earlier this year.

Maddy Pope, a project manager for the Trust for Public Land, has been heading up the effort to name a peak in memory of Alex Diekmann, who worked for the group until he died of cancer earlier this year.

“It seems like a really good way to commemorate his legacy and his work,” Pope said.

Diekmann, who was 52, worked for the Trust for Public Land for 16 years. He negotiated land deals and conservation easements on more than 55 projects covering more than 100,000 acres throughout the West. Colleagues have said he had a knack for bringing opposing sides of those deals together.

The peak the group identified in the Madison Range is partially on the Sun Ranch and partially on U.S. Forest Service land, part of a major land deal he helped negotiate. It is 9,765 feet tall and unnamed.

The idea has support from many conservation and environmental groups as well as the Madison County Commission and the Gallatin County Commission. The Gallatin County Commission voted unanimously to write to all three members of Montana’s congressional delegation in support of the deal on Tuesday.

“There couldn’t be a better thing to honor him and memorialize him than with a peak,” said Joe Skinner, a Gallatin County commissioner.

They are trying to get the designation through an act of Congress, which would be considerably faster than trying to accomplish it through the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. The board’s policy says they can’t consider a commemorative name until five years after a person has died. If the designation were to pass both houses of Congress, it would be official once the measure is signed into law.

Spokespeople for both Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke and Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said they have received requests and are looking for the best way to move forward. Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines said in a statement that Diekmann “will have a lasting impact for many years to come.”

Diekmann’s wife, Lisa, said naming a peak would be very special for the family. She said the Madison Range was a meaningful place for her husband and their two sons, and that because it is publicly accessible it would align with the spirit of his work.

“The location is awesome,” Lisa said. “It will be protected forever and that was what he dedicated his professional career to.”

Michael Wright can be reached at mwright@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1.

Locations

Michael Wright covers the environment and wildlife issues for the Chronicle.

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