Meet J. Porter Hammitt, Founder & Director of MOLA.  

MOLA is currently in its 23rd year and has grown steadily over time, starting with Porter and one intern in 2000, renting all the gear that was needed.  Operations now include up to 12 staff members in summer, 7 vans, 6 trailers, a fleet of canoes, rafts, climbing gear, and more.  MOLA serves hundreds of area youth every year, and MOLA programs have accumulated 10’s of thousands of participant-days over the years!

Porter’s background includes an MS in Recreation Management, with an emphasis in outdoor programs, at the University of Montana where he authored a thesis study of environmental ethics and behavior of students at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).  During this time, he also studied with Joel Meier and served as an assistant instructor for UM’s legendary Conservation & Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) program.  Porter then spent four years directing outdoor education programs for the Missoula YMCA.  He also worked as an instructor at an outdoor natural science center; a wilderness therapy program for youth at risk; Missoula Parks & Recreation, facilitating team-building activities; and the University of Montana, teaching courses in Environmental Science.  During this time, he also completed coursework towards a doctorate in education, including teaching methods, ecology, and wildlife biology.  Porter has also worked for the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, and the US Forest Service as a wilderness ranger.

Porter’s professional development includes:

Wilderess First Responder
Whitewater Safety
Climbing Instruction
Raft Guiding
Avalanche Safety
Life Guarding
Ropes Courses
Leave No Trace

His academic interests include:

– Outdoor Recreation, Logistics, Risk Management, Ethics

– Leadership, Expedition Behavior, and Group Dynamics

– Natural History, Ecology, Biology, and Environmental Science

– Educational Philosophy, History, Theory, and Methods.

Porter has called Missoula home for 30 years.  Wife Mindy is a Missoula native who teaches 7th grade social studies at CS Porter middle-school.  Together they have two sons – Eli (15) & Gabe (13).

You can contact Porte via email at

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