Multiple state and national agencies gathered in Missoula Thursday for the fourth annual Montana Forest Collaboration Network workshop.

But Montana wasn't the only state represented, many traveled across state lines just for this workshop.

it was a full room as representatives from the US Forest Service, The Montana DNRC, and even the Idaho Department of Lands gathered to talk about forest action plans and shared stewardship.

One of today's speakers was Lt. Governor Mike Cooney. He says the work forest crews are doing is not easy, and not always appreciated, but is critical to the state of Montana.

"When it comes to forest management there can be a lot of opinions out there but we can bring all of those options together and have  reasonable conversation and be open and think differently than perhaps you are used to and that can produce very good out comes," Lt. Governor Cooney said.

But Cooney wasn’t the only big speaker Thursday. USDA Under Secretary Jim Hubbard made a trip out to Montana to join in on the conversation.

"I go a lot of places and I have to say I don’t see this type of coming together anywhere else." Hubbard said.

Hubbard and the Lt. Governor took questions from the crowd on various subject and after Thursdays session  participants say they are eager to keep learning.

“I came here to gain some other perspectives and understand how Montana is moving forward with their shared stewardship commission.” Idaho Department of Lands worker Jon Songster said.

This is the fourth year of the workshop and it will continue Friday.

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