Here are a couple of familiar names addressing some familiar issues . . .
We’re a strange pair of fishing buddies, the retired Republican lawmaker and the environmentalist, but we sure do enjoy each other’s company. Together, we tramp through thickets, scramble down riverbanks, wade icy currents – all for the shared pleasure of laying a fly in front of a handsome westslope cutt.
This fall, as we bushwhacked into a secret hole, we couldn’t help but notice each other’s hats: the veteran GOP campaigner was wearing a ballcap touting Trout Unlimited; the conservationist was bearing the badge of the local lumber mill. Maybe that’s why we get on so well. We’re willing to fish a mile in another man’s hat.
We both believe, generally, that there’s room enough in Montana’s wilds for all sorts of folks. We agree that there’s room enough for compromise, that it’s better to talk than to shout, that we’d rather negotiate than litigate. And we both believe that when neighbors cooperate in good faith to help manage their own backyards, then the powers that be should pay very close attention, and think twice before tipping the scales on behalf of special interests.
Read more . . .
The Flathead Beacon just posted a lengthy, well-written article by Tristan Scott about the just-concluded Whitefish Range Partnership agreement.
Like the earlier Missoulian piece, this one is also recommended reading . . .
Bob Brown, a former secretary of state and longtime Whitefish legislator, pulled into the snow-caked parking lot outside Ed and Mully’s Restaurant at the base of Big Mountain, his car bearing a bumper sticker that read, “Compromise is not a Four Letter Word.”
Ever the diplomat, Brown was there to broker a meeting organized by a coalition of longtime adversaries turned unlikely bedfellows — tree huggers and tree cutters, eco-warriors and timber sawyers, hikers, horsemen, mountain bikers, cabin owners and nearly everyone else with a stake in the management of public lands on the Flathead National Forest.
They represented three-dozen interest groups who historically clashed over public land use on Montana’s forests; who for decades pitted wilderness against timber production, non-motorized against motorized recreation, commercial interests against wildlife. They were advocates accustomed to digging in their heels, entrenched in their ideologies and not given to making concessions.
Read more . . .
For those of you who haven’t encountered Larry Wilson’s enthusiastic Thompson-Seton trip report, here it is. Kudos to Frank Vitale for coming up with the idea in the first place and making it happen . . .
What a great trip. Regular readers of this column will no doubt remember Frank Vitale and I debating the wilderness issue in this newspaper late last summer. That debate ended with Frank challenging me to go with him on his mules to Thompson-Seton Peak, where we would sit down and debate the issue on the mountain top. After getting Frank to agree to not only take me into the mountains but also bring me out, I accepted the challenge.
Unfortunately, the weather turned wet and cold, and we had to postpone the trip until the summer. During the winter, we were both involved in the Whitefish Range Partnership, and over the course of the meetings, we both became fully aware of the other’s feelings and concerns about wilderness. Thus, there was no big need for a mountain-top debate, but I was still anxious to take the trip and was more than happy that Frank, too, was still willing to take me.
July 28 was set as a mutually acceptable date, and I was so excited I started putting my gear together a week ahead of time…
Continue reading at the Hungry Horse News . . .