The Crosscut founder was a wildlife advocate, community-builder, and all-around inspiration.
On July 15, Eric Love passed away in the swirl of a dust storm while driving to Vermont with his wife, Jacquie. Eric was an innovator in seeking ways to combat climate change, and it was a type of weather event associated with climate change that led to a multi-vehicle pileup on I-90 near Hardin, Montana.
I first heard of Eric through a Bozeman Daily Chronicle article in November 2014 when he, as the Bridger Biathlon Club co-founder, announced plans to buy the Bohart Ranch Cross-Country Ski Center and Crosscut Ranch to create a “world-class Nordic ski venue.” Eric had become interested in biathlon through his two children, Sabine and Alex, who in reaction to his death stated, “Our dad wasn’t the best skier, but he wasn’t building Crosscut for himself. He founded Crosscut as a way for us and other Bozeman kids to participate in biathlon. He found so much pride and enjoyment in connecting people with the outdoors through his love for this magical place.” After spearheading philanthropic purchases of the two pieces of land through the Bridger Biathlon Club, Eric created Crosscut Mountain Sports Center.
“As we grieve the giant hole he leaves in our lives, I can hear him whispering in my ear to rally together and fulfill his vision for Crosscut today and long into the future—for the benefit of our entire community.”—Jacquie Love
With compassion and enthusiasm, Eric forged pathways for making the impossible, possible. Quick to grasp the big picture, he often thought outside of the box and pulled others along with him. An effective networker and communicator, Eric often simplified complexities down to the core. At a Crosscut retreat aimed to create a vision statement, after hearing many complicated versions, Eric simply blurted out: Our vision is to inspire a healthy community by connecting people and nature. Enough said.
Eric’s leadership and vision on behalf of Crosscut were honed over his 25-year career working for the Trust for Public Lands and the Nature Conservancy, culminating as Global Director of Conservation. Eric facilitated land-protection from unfettered development to support critical habitat for keystone species including grizzly, jaguar, and orangutan in landscapes such as the Northern Rocky Mountains, Indonesia, Belize, and Tanzania. He and his colleagues played key roles in transferring hundreds of thousands of acres of former railroad land grants back into public ownership.
As co-founder and board chair for Crosscut Mountain Sports Center, Eric focused immense effort on creating a solid organization to serve all. Some of his last efforts were directed toward team fundraising to support an “audacious vision”—a thoughtful, sustainable lodge facility and expanded educational and recreational activities for all at Crosscut.
Jacquie Love remains committed to Eric’s vision for Crosscut and writes, “As we grieve the giant hole he leaves in our lives, I can hear him whispering in my ear to rally together and fulfill his vision for Crosscut today and long into the future—for the benefit of our entire community.”
Eric, we grieve your passing, but through your hard work and creativity we have a dedicated board, superb leadership, and talented staff to support your vision to empower healthy community by connecting people with nature. Take a stride through the forest before you enjoy that drink on the deck of the new lodge. Rest in peace.
The community is invited to a memorial service for Eric Love at Crosscut Mountain Sports Center on October 1. You can find more information here.