by Bob Lopp
Jim Watson and Carol Bibler met in Bozeman in 1985 and married in 1988. They moved to Grand Junction, Colorado in 1989, where Jim worked as a mechanical engineer and Carol as a geologist. In 2001 they returned to Carol’s hometown of Kalispell, Montana and began taking over operations at Spring Brook Ranch, which Carol’s father, Sam Bibler, had established in the 1990s.
Jim has served on the board of the Winter Wildlands Alliance and the Flathead County Parks Board. He assembled and guided the volunteer group that wrote the Flathead County Trails Plan which includes the Foy’s to Blacktail and Lakeside to Blacktail Trails. In 2007 he began volunteering with Foy’s to Blacktail Trails, writing several major grants and devising the phased acquisition plan that secured the organization’s success in expanding Herron Park. In May 2015 he joined the organization’s board of directors.
Carol has served on the board of the Montana Land Reliance since 2003 and is currently vice-president of that organization. The Montana Land Reliance’s voluntary conservation easements have protected more than 940,000 acres of ecologically and agriculturally important land in Montana. She has volunteered with Foy’s to Blacktail Trails since 2009, joined the board in 2011, and is now finishing her last term with the organization.
Carol and Jim are pleased that Sam Bibler placed a conservation easement on the 1,000 acre ranch they now own. Jim manages the ranch where they raise bison and Tibetan yak with wildlife in mind. Several species of raptors and numerous songbirds frequent the property. Deer, elk, black bear, lions and many small mammals come and go throughout the year. People think they’re crazy to tolerate all those ground squirrels, but it seems to work well for a variety of predators, including the raptors!