Nieman News

Dale Burk

Dale Burk's work at The Missoulian helped shape national forest policy

Dale Burk, a longtime Montana journalist and a 1976 Nieman Fellow, died at his home in Stevensville, Montana on September 16. He was 83.

Born to a logging family in Kalispell, Montana in 1936, Burk was editor of his high school paper and also worked as a correspondent for the local Daily Inter Lake newspaper. From 1955 to 1959, he served in the U.S. Navy and was a veteran of the Korean War; during his service, he was based in Tokyo, Japan as a Navy press representative at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. Upon returning, he worked as a reporter for the Daily Inter Lake and spent some time working in public relations before joining The Missoulian. He worked there in a variety of reporting and editing roles as well as a columnist. Much of his work focused on the environment, especially the restoration and conservation of Montana’s wilderness, and in 2018 he was inducted into the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame to honor his lasting contributions. His reporting on “the Bitterroot Controversy” — mismanagement of the Bitterroot National Forest by the U.S. Forest Service in favor of the timber industry and with disregard for local wildlife, soil, and watershed values — led to hearings in the U.S. Senate, where Burk testified and helped spur the passage of the National Forest Management Act in 1976.

After leaving The Missoulian in 1978, Burk worked as a freelance journalist and started a regional book publisher, Stoneydale Press. He was the author of several books, including his 2018 memoir, “A Brush with a Wild Thing or Two in Montana.”