Sleeping Giant Citizens Council

Sleeping Giant Citizens Council celebrated their 13th year as an affiliate in 2022. We organize in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, and Broadwater Counties.

Our Mission

Sleeping Giant Citizens Council advocates for healthy, inviting, and sustainable communities by educating, mobilizing, and testifying to ensure citizens’ voices are heard in the decision-making process.

Current Campaigns

Passenger Rail

SGCC is working to get the Lewis and Clark County Commissioners to sign onto the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority (BSPRA), the entity that was formed in 2020 to support the restoration of Passenger Rail through southern Montana. Lewis and Clark is one of the only counties that has not yet signed on, putting Helena and the surrounding area at a disadvantage in the planning process for the railway. Members are working to educate the public and help convince the County Commissioners that the railway would be a worthwhile investment for the community. For more information on BSPRA, click here.


Members are working on getting C-PACE passed in Lewis and Clark and Jefferson Counties (it has already been passed in Broadwater), which requires a vote from the County Commissioners. This effort includes outreach to local businesses to spread awareness about the program.

Learn more about C-PACE.

Issues We Work On

Local Food

Sleeping Giant has a long history of local food action, and has most recently created an informal local food space for folks to gather, create community, and talk about local food issues and solutions. The group has met a few times to share a meal and has many ideas for outreach, including film screenings and partnerships.

Clean Energy

Our pas clean energy efforts have included bringing more solar to our communities through a Solarize campaign, and efforts to install more energy efficient lighting in local buildings. We are currently pursuing a C-PACE outreach campaign, and taking an interest in holding Northwestern Energy accountable for refusing to pursue more clean energy infrastructure.

Community Design

SGCC members are interested in building healthy, well designed communities and have recently taken up the campaign to help bring the Amtrak passenger train back through Helena, increase tourism, and reduce road traffic. A member spoke at our 2022 Annual Meeting about zoning laws in Helena Valley and how to think about zoning in terms of community change.

History and Accomplishments

  • Seven years hosting the Annual Sun Run in partnership with the Vigilante Runners, raising money to solarize local community buildings.

  • Ten residential homes outfitted with solar panels in 2021 through the Solarize campaign.

  • Hosted multiple Wild and Scenic Film Festivals.

  • Hosted forums opposing the Tongue River Railroad and supporting Passenger Rail.

  • Hosted a Helena Chef’s Expo to showcase local food during the Montana Local Food Challenge.



Hugh Zackheim


Joel Harris


Marianne Schomaker


Paul Jacquay

Northern Plains Board Representatives

Katherine Appling-Freistadt
Mic Smith

Community Organizer

Check out these upcoming events in your area!​

Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council Annual Meeting

Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council Annual..

Join Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council (YVCC) for our Annual Meeting! We’re bringing back our potluck for 2022, and we’re excited to join our members together in-person again.

Northern Plains’ 51st Annual Meeting

Northern Plains’ 51st Annual Meeting

After a half century of protecting Montanans’ right to a clean and healthful environment, this year Northern Plains is Bringing Democracy Home. Join us for our 51st Annual Meeting!


Our Team

Effy McEldowney

Grassroots Fundraising Coordinator

Michael Skinner

GNA Manager and Community Organizer

Jeanie Alderson, Birney

Past Chair

Emma Kerr-Carpenter, Billings

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council

Kris Glenn, Billings

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council

John Gayusky, Livingston

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Bend Citizens Council

Joan Kresich, Livingston

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Bend Citizens Council

Tom Heyneman, Fishtail

Affiliate Representatives- Stillwater Protective Association

Edward Barta, Billings

Vice-Chair & Affiliate Representatives - Stillwater Protective Association

Mic Smith, Helena

Affiliate Representatives- Sleeping Giant Citizens Council

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