nfpa > NF Road Anti-paving Home > Brian Peck Letter

Paving North Fork Road is a bad idea all around

To the editor,

According to recent articles in the Daily Interlake, County Commissioner Dale Williams, aided and abetted by Representative Hill and Senator Burns, has hatched another economically and environmentally bad idea, and plans to use your tax dollars to fund it. I refer to the plan to pave the North Fork road up to the Camas road junction.

Mr. Williams would have us believe that this $2.4 million dollar scheme would mitigate possible economic losses if Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed for construction, would provide an alternate loop through the Park, and would be worth endangering grizzlies and wolves because it would help meet air and water quality standards by lowering dust.

First, if paving is done, and Commissioner Williams succeeds in enticing visitors up the longer North Fork route, it will primarily benefit Nucleus Avenue in Columbia Falls. In the process, these tourists and their dollars will be effectively diverted away from Coram, Hungry Horse, and West Glacier. By the time they reach those towns they will have long since bought their curios, huckleberry jam, film and snacks, and be off to their next destination.

Second, anyone who thinks the longer, less scenic Camas loop is a realistic replacement for Going-to-the-Sun Road, or can be effectively marketed to tourists as such, is simply not in touch with reality.

Third, the argument that we have to sacrifice North Fork solitude and grizzlies to meet air quality standards is nonsense, and suggests we're not bright enough to have both. Coming from Mr. Williams, who loathes predators and helped gut county funding to monitor Flathead Lake water quality, the sudden concern over air and water quality seems disingenuous at best.

Brian Peck
Columbia Falls

Last update: 10 Jul 1999