Missoula County's small business owners have much to be thankful for with the commissioners' courageous and well-reasoned decision to join in a lawsuit against Imperial Oil's plan to haul oil sands modules through Montana.
As a fourth generation Montanan and the owner and operator of Dunrovin Ranch and Research, LLC in Lolo, I know as well as the next person that Montana needs to build its economy for the future. But a permanent megaload corridor at the expense of local jobs and taxpayers does nothing but move us backward.
Through my own economic and demographic research and my business experiences with Dunrovin Guest Ranch, it is abundantly clear that western Montana's unique quality of life is the main driver in our economy. It is what draws the creative people who turn ideas into economic realities and create jobs across diverse economic sectors.
Exxon and other out-of-state corporations' plans to highjack our highways would degrade our national reputation as an outdoor recreation and cultural mecca, spoil our county's ability to market itself, and hinder trucking commerce critical to our local timber industry and others.
Small tourism businesses, like mine, serve a vital role in an economic chain. Visitors who fall in love with Montana return again and again, and many end up bringing or creating businesses here to enable them to enjoy our unsurpassed lifestyle. This is the real job machine for this county and we all rely on the fact that Missoula has become a world-class destination.
Thanks to the Missoula County Commissioners for watching out for the backbone of our economy.