Meet Margaret Gorski


I am 64 years old, married, have lived in the Bitterroot Valley since 1991 and, with my husband Skip, chase three Labrador retrievers around. My father was a career US Air Force flight engineer and my mother was a junior high school math teacher. We moved frequently in my youth and by the time I was 16, we had lived in four states and the Canadian province of Newfoundland. When my father retired, he moved the family to the Pacific Northwest to work for the Boeing Corporation.


I attended high school in the Tacoma area and college at the University of Washington where I earned my undergraduate degree in Forest Resources. I later earned a master’s degree at the University of California-Berkeley in landscape architecture and regional planning. Both degrees launched me into a career of public service in natural resources management.


Work History

My work life began as a seasonal tour guide and later as a law enforcement ranger for the National Park Service in three national parks in the West (Crater Lake, Olympic and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks). Following graduate school, I began what turned out to be a 30 year career with the US Forest Service. I worked on three national forests in northeastern California, the eastern Sierra Nevada and northern Idaho (Lassen, Inyo, Clearwater National Forests). My positions varied from recreation program specialist, to District Ranger, to Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Coordinator, to Regional Recreation Program leader. I retired with 35 years of federal service from the Regional Office in Missoula in 2013.

Since retiring, I have volunteered my time and energy to local, state, and national non-profit organizations. I am currently helping to form “Friends of Fort Owen”, a new non-profit working with Montana State Parks to enhance Fort Owen State Park as a tourism and educational asset to Stevensville. I am a board member of the Bitterroot Trail Preservation Alliance ( working to raise awareness and funding for the multi-use trail along Highway 93. I have also worked for many years at the national level, for two years as President of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation (, and for three years as board member for the Partnership for the National Trail System (

Most recently, I was appointed by the Ravalli County Board of Commissioners to serve on the new Ravalli County Collaborative, a citizens group to promote wise use of Ravalli County’s natural resources. I am using my training in consensus building and conflict resolution and expertise in resource management to represent recreation and tourism interests and how to best manage our county’s natural resources to provide fire protection, resource jobs, and public and commercial access.


Experience and Perspectives

My experience in natural resources management and administration, working to provide public access opportunities, and now with non-profits, has prepared me very well for this next challenge of being District 88’s next representative. I understand how laws and regulations are created, authorized, and implemented. I understand the interaction between local, state, and the federal government. I know about tribal sovereignty. I have worked with diverse interest groups; have facilitated contentious meetings, and found common ground. I have worked with business interests through contracting oversight and permit administration. And I understand the importance of listening to all viewpoints and am a firm believer that decisions are better when there is a diversity of thought involved.

Over the 35 years that I have worked and travelled in the west, I have gained a valuable perspective on how the west has grown. I have observed major changes in employment and the economic conditions in natural resource dependent communities and how communities are making adjustments. I have seen both the benefits and the environmental consequences of the urbanization of places that were once working farms, ranches and forests. Having had a career in national forest management, I am keenly aware of how important our backyard national forests are to everyone for an unlimited variety of uses.

All these experiences I think make me uniquely qualified to be District 88’s representative in the State Legislature.


Other Experience and Interests

  • Once trained as an Emergency Medical Technician.
  • One of the first female Law Enforcement Rangers in the National Park Service.
  • Have worked as a Cross Country Ski Instructor. Love camping/hiking.
  • Have been appointed to two city commissions and one county committee.
  • Have travelled the entire length of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
  • Have hiked to the top of Mount Whitney.
  • Hobbies include Gardening, Photography, Making Jewelry, Collecting Costume Jewelry, and Playing Words with Friends.

Fiscally Conservative. Socially Responsible. Environmentally Conscious.


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