Former Inter Lake reporter honored for conservation pursuits

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Dale Burk

Stevensville author, outdoorsman and former journalist Dale Burk, who got his start in the newspaper business at the Daily Inter Lake, is one of 16 people who will be inducted into the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame on Saturday at a ceremony in Helena.

Burk will be honored for environmental journalism.

The Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame was created to honor individuals, both living and posthumously, who made lasting contributions to the restoration and conservation of Montana’s wildlife and wild places. The awards seek to preserve the stories of those who helped enhance public awareness of Montana’s conservation history.

A third-generation Montana, Burk grew up in a logging family in the Trego area. During his high school years in Eureka, Burk was editor of his school newspaper, where he was heavily influenced in his writing by his teacher Donald Boslaugh. During that same time he worked as a correspondent, stringing stories for the Daily Inter Lake.

Later he was a journalist in the U.S. Navy, where he served overseas, including a three-year stint as Navy press representative at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo, Japan. When he returned to civilian life he got a job as a reporter for the Inter Lake in Kalispell.

He worked several years in public-relations jobs in Columbia Falls and Butte; then had a 10-year run as a reporter, columnist and editor on the staff of The Missoulian. During that time he received a number of regional and national writing awards for his reporting on natural resource and conservation issues and became the first Montana writer to win a prestigious Nieman Fellowship for Professional Journalists to Harvard University in 1975-76. He’s a 1971 graduate of the University of Montana, where he majored in philosophy and minored in English.

After he left The Missoulian in late 1978, he worked as a writer-photographer, wrote books and freelance articles for various national publications. Burk and his wife, Patricia, run a regional book publishing firm, Stoneydale Press, out of Stevensville.

He recently published his memoir, “A Brush With a Wild Thing or Two in Montana,” that taps into his life spent in the wilds of Montana.

“Dale is a storyteller, so it should be no surprise that his memoir gives colorful insights into how wild places and things shaped his attitudes, writing and life . . . at age 12 he had his first piece published and he never looked back,” bookstore owner Barbara Theroux of Missoula said in the forward for Burk’s memoir.

Burk’s book includes some of his “brushes” with potentially dangerous things like wolverines, grizzly bears, lightning and mountain blizzards, colorful backcountry packers and camp cooks, hunters and fishermen like the famed Fran Johnson of Butte. He also wrote about efforts by many people, such as the late Loren Kreck of Columbia Falls, to formally establish the Great Bear Wilderness in Northwest Montana. He also writes of his involvement in the early days of the effort to establish the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (he was and is the first public member, No. 4, of the foundation), and, in the book’s final chapter, he explores his spiritual growth out of experiences in the Montana wilderness.

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