I enjoyed the article in the Independent about the Bitterroot Resort and Tom Maclay (see “Why is this guy smiling?” March 1), but I need to add something to the story about the auction of Maclay’s property on the steps of the Missoula Courthouse.
I arrived early on Feb. 22 to prepare for bidding and was the first person to place a bid. It was low and I knew I didn’t have a chance but I wanted to try. Contrary to your article, a million-dollar bid was not the first bid.
My bid was not mentioned in the article. I guess it was too low, but it was sincere. The sheriff’s deputy asked for an opening bid several times and I spoke up first, bidding $1,000. I was prepared to go to $5,000.
Prior to the bidding I was calling groups that in the past have purchased such land to set aside for public management. I was disappointed that none of those organizations attended the auction.
I hope that in the future, a conservation group such as Five Valleys Land Trust or Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will purchase the Maclay ranch from Metropolitan Life Insurance so this property can be added to the national forest or the state land system.