From Dave Hadden at Headwaters Montana . . .
If you’re a regular listener and donor to Montana Public Radio, then you’re familiar with the voice of Brian Kahn, the host and producer of “Home Ground Radio.” Brian sat down with Paul McKenzie and me to discuss the challenges and successes of finding common ground on national forest management issues.
The interview aired on MTPR last Sunday, May 29, but is available for your listening pleasure anytime by clicking here.
In typical Home Ground Radio style, Brian led the conversation from introductions to a ‘take home message.’
Paul McKenzie works for Stoltze Land and Lumber Company in Columbia Falls, Montana, as the land and resource manager. It’s been my pleasure to get to know Paul as a sincere, intelligent and committed individual who cares deeply about the forest resources he manages and the people employed at Stoltze’s lumber mill.
Paul and I have sat across the table from one another for several years now as part of the Whitefish Range Partnership, and Kootenai Forest Stakeholder Coalition’s Common Ground” committee.
These conversations have been joined by many other individuals representing other constituencies. The conversations haven’t always been easy. However, they have been necessary.
The Flathead Valley has seen its share of ugly, uncivil and divisive discourse. Headwaters Montana thinks it’s
better to talk than to shout, better to listen rather than talk over someone else, and to search for the values one’s traditional ‘opponent’ is trying to express. Maybe there’s some common ground to be discovered!
It’s hard to give up a cherished position that may, in part, define who you think you are. It’s been my direct experience that- right here in the Flathead Valley – all of us share a lot more in common than differences.
Paul got the ‘last word’ in the interview, which I felt was appropriate. Brian asked us what we would ask of the Montana congressional delegation as two individuals who have put in time trying to find common ground on complex national forest issues.
Paul said, the delegation should “listen hard and respect the work these collaborates did. There’s a lot of hard work done by a lot of people who do it because they care about it, not because they have to. I think that has some weight, and I think it deserves some real consideration in the decision making process.”
Please listen to the interview, and – if you like – tell us what you think.