The Northern Plains Resource Council was formed by ranch families who were concerned about the threat that industrial-scale coal mining would have on their property and their ability to make a living from ranching.
Members of two local rancher groups – the Bull Mountain Landowners Association and Rosebud Protective Association – formed Northern Plains at a meeting in Boyd and Anne Charter’s living room in the Bull Mountains in 1972. Northern Plains’ founders filed articles of incorporation with the Montana Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State filed issued a certificate of incorporation on September 22, 1972. In October of that year, Northern Plains met under its newly-adopted charter, and elected its first officers and directors.
In 1979, Northern Plains joined forces with two other citizen groups – the Dakota Resource Council in North Dakota and the Powder River Basin Resource Council in Wyoming – to form the Western Organization of Resource Councils, based in Billings. Today, WORC has member groups in seven Western states, and assists those groups by coordinating work on shared issues, providing training, and conducting research on issues.
Since those early days, Northern Plains has worked on a wide variety of issues that impact family agriculture, land, water, air, and communities.