Donna Montag grew up in a wealthy Catholic family in upstate New York. After college she worked as a portfolios analyst on Wall Street, but was disappointed with the dishonesty she experienced in that job. Searching for honesty and community, she hitchhiked west to a commune in Oregon and never looked back. She arrived in Elk when she was twenty-six, met her husband and began living off the land. When she gave birth to her daughter the idea of natural childbirth was gaining popularity, and some doctors were advocating for a natural approach to birth in hospitals. Donna was one of the first women to give birth in a hospital with her husband and stepson present without the use of pharmaceuticals. She is also one of the founding members of the Jewish community on the coast.