As a young boy, living on the edge of the Pintlers, I had the unique opportunity of spending time with my grandfather hunting and learning to trap and run a trapline. I would not trade that time spent with a great man from a different time for anything. I continued trapping into my late teens. I loved the excitement and dreamed about living off the land in an earlier age.
As I aged and hopefully matured, the treasured memories of my grandfather started to separate from what I did and saw on that trapline. Memories of hearing the animals whimper in fear, confusion and pain as I approached the still distant trap set. Blood-soaked snow in a circle that represented the chain length. Sometimes finding nothing but a torn or chewed off leg of an animal that was soon to die. Often just the remains of a trapped animal eaten by another because it had no chance to escape. I look back on this with great regret.
My grandfather trapped out of necessity. I had no such excuse. I was destroying in the cruelest manner the things I loved the most. I can fully understand the resistance to Initiative 177 but if you could see and hear what I have, you would not hesitate to support it. This is no longer the age of trapping.
As a cofounder of the original Festival of the Dead in 1993, I want to share some historical perspective. Michael de Meng and I, both recent art school graduates, both working heavily with themes of mortality, were brainstorming projects at the time. We were both attracted to the Mexican/Latin American Dia de los Muertos celebration, with its colorful, artistic, community-minded expressions of life and death. We felt that Missoula was ripe for an event that would help us to address issues of mortality. Our idea was to create a Missoula-style event inspired by celebrations of Dia de los Muertos. Given that we are Caucasian, and that Missoula had a very small Latino population, we decided to call it Missoula's Annual Festival of the Dead and emphasize cultures represented in our area. The common theme that drew and still draws us together is that we all live and we all die and we have all experienced the deaths of others. Our focus was on artistic expression and performance. In the beginning, a handful of Latino people came forth to teach and share traditions. We also invited Native American drum groups, Scottish bagpipers, Middle Eastern belly dancers, a Haitian dance group—the list goes on. All kinds of creative expressions and interpretations have developed, to our delight. We did not feel comfortable or have a reason to reach back to ancient pre-Hispanic or pre-Columbian ceremonies.
The Missoula community has embraced Festival of the Dead, and it has evolved in interesting and wonderful ways. Our world is a melting pot, and there are fewer hard lines between cultures and ethnicities. We wanted to invite people to participate in their own unique way, according to their own cultural background, expressing their own beliefs and experiences regarding issues of mortality. We've always asked that people participate in a respectful and considerate way. The current controversies are good in that, hopefully, they generate positive dialogue and change.
Bev Beck Glueckert
This letter is addressing I-177. Please consider voting for this initiative. I feel the concerns I'm sharing with you are extremely important to the reputation of our great state of Montana.
Trapping with the use of steel-jaw leg-hold traps is an ancient barbaric act that is considered recreational or commercial where the animal (many times not even the target animal) is caught and killed so that trappers can rip off the animal's fur and sell it to the fashion industry. With the exception of wolf trapping, our state does not even require trappers to check their traps and snares in any specific period of time. As a result, these trapped animals can be left lingering in traps and snares for several days and nights while exposed to extreme cold temperatures and left vulnerable and defenseless to any attacks from carnivores who may come by in search of food. These animals suffer in traps until the trapper returns to either stomp, club, strangle or shoot them to death. It is not only that pets and non-target animals can accidentally be caught in these traps, I feel it is inhumane for any animal to endure that type of torture—even the "target" animal.
It is simply a no-brainer to me that traps should never be used on public lands where families and pets recreate. They are dangerous, brutal and because many traps are baited and have the potential of luring any animal in, they are indiscriminate and not an effective management tool.
Research also shows there are much better and humane ways of accomplishing what trappers are defending so profusely—besides the obvious aim of making money.
Please vote for I-177 and help preserve Montana's reputation for being a beautiful state to visit for its wonderful scenery and magnificent wildlife.
Having knowledge of acting Justice of the Peace Landee Holloway's credentials working in the criminal justice system and knowing her personally for two decades plus, I wholeheartedly endorse her in the upcoming November election for the above position.
Judge Holloway brings many strengths to this important position—honesty and good, strong common sense, plus excellent communication skills and the very necessary strength of judicial temperament. Holloway knows the positives and weaknesses in the criminal justice system, thus those who appear before her receive fair treatment.
Judge Holloway also serves on an extremely important committee regarding reintegration of offenders into our community. The importance of this program's success clearly benefits the community by working with offenders so they don't reoffend. This leads to a cost savings for taxpayers and, more importantly, less victimization in our community.
Judge Holloway's campaign Facebook page tells a great deal more about her candidacy credentials and why I will be voting for her. I ask you to join me in voting for this extremely qualified candidate.
With regards to biking in Woods Gulch, Ben Horan wrote a nice, polite letter (see "Shared nature," Sept. 15). I'm an old fart and can say what I want.
I've been biking in Woods Gulch for over 20 years. The bike club from the '90s, LIMB, adopted the Woods Gulch trail and it was the first trail they worked on. They asked the Forest Service to put up a sign about the adoption but they never did. In the '90s, I cleared the water bars out myself for six straight years. Around 2000, LIMB and the International Mountain Bike Association reworked the bottom of the trail for speed reduction and control. The Forest Service decided to run up a 25- to 30-foot beam for the new bridge, which required a Cat to reach the work site, and wiped out the speed control. Then, around a dozen years ago, we did a reroute above the first bridge. I worked the switchback. Shortly after, the Forest Service's Technology and Development Program made a film on building climbing turns and switchbacks with the Montana Conservation Corp. I brought my bike up Wood Gulch so we could demonstrate quality turns. In the above activities and another six to eight trail projects in the Rattlesnake I don't remember meeting Lisa Hendricks (see "A place to walk," Sept. 8).
But what about hikers' conduct? When I've been on my bike some hikers have frowned at me on trails that I've built. I've been out with my dog riding toward Woods Gulch using the Mount Jumbo entrance. A couple of blocks before the parking lot a hiker (no bike on car) was driving up the hill and using a hand to shade her eyes from early morning sun. I was able to avoid her hitting me, but she hit my dog with the front of her car, knocking him over (the dog was fine). I've also seen a member of Missoula Open Space Committee speeding on their way to a field trip meeting. And I've seen other hikers speeding. Does this mean we should ban all hikers driving to the trailhead? I assume Lisa would say yes.
Sometimes you can separate trail users and have both groups end up happier. The city open space manager had me ride the MoZ trail on Sentinel. He gave me a ride up the road to the trail junction and I rode it down and gave him my fixes. A couple days later we rode it again and found a max speed of 14 mph when just coasting down. Hikers were allowed on the trail with just signs warning them about downhill bikers. Same thing on Forest Service land located on Mount Jumbo up near Woods Gulch. A fast road downhill was replaced by the Sidewinder single track meeting up at Danny O'Brian Gulch. Hikers have been seen on this trail also.
So what trails are the hikers going to give up so there can be biking-only trails? I'm done with hikers thinking they get more rights on trails we all pay for. I would suggest we close Woods Gulch to hikers. Also maybe the Sawmill Gulch in the main Rattlesnake area? I would assume we would need some other hiker-only trails on Blue Mountain and a few other areas.
Every small business owner has probably repeated the classic Field of Dreams quote in their minds from time to time: "If you build it, they will come."
What we have found in Missoula is perhaps an even more inspiring mantra: "If you invite others to join you, you will build it together; once you build it, it will become something more than any of us imagined."
For the fourth year in a row, the Kauffman Foundation ranked Montana No. 1 in the nation for entrepreneurship. Jonathan Ortmans, a Kauffman senior fellow, noted, "While many rightly see Montana as barely a blip on the map in this regard compared to other places cranking out tech startups, state authorities have a chance to build on Montana's collaborative culture to create opportunities for connectivity."
Our own startup would not be heading toward our second annual community festival without the collective talents given so generously by the Missoula community to sustain the country's first brewery and educational center. Whether hammering nails, landscaping, designing artwork, sharing music, brewing beer or helping us to connect more deeply with our guests and important local causes, so many individuals and groups have offered their time, advice and support. All of this makes it clear to us why Montana keeps winning national rankings for business startups.
Even in the midst of extreme national polarization, we believe Montana is tops for entrepreneurship because of a collaborative culture that brings people together, celebrates what connects us all and offers pathways for people to share their talents and give back to something bigger than themselves.
It is in the spirit of collaboration and connectivity that we are thrilled to team up with the Zootown Arts Community Center for Imagine Fest 2016 on Sept. 24. A portion of the proceeds will support the ZACC as well as Playing for Change—a nonprofit that develops opportunities for street musicians while building music and art schools for children around the world.
Imagine Fest is beyond beer. It is about carving out the space and time for good people to do good things. We invite you to join us and the ZACC to create something more than we all might imagine.
Robert Rivers and Fernanda Menna Barreto Krum
Imagine Nation Brewing
I am compassionate, yet realisticmy husband is a hunter and fisherman. I heard outrageous lies when approached by a trapper at his booth during a recent fair saying that animal rights people are trying to outlaw hunting and fishing and I-177 is just to get a foot in the door. The trapper bragged that he sells his services to ranchers who want to get rid of coyotes, wolves and foxes. I asked him about the domino effect of killing these predators, i.e., being overrun with mice and voles, and he stated that he kills those too.
For those who are concerned about trapping, please realize that trappers can still trap on private land. Public land is for everyone to enjoy and not have to worry about their child or pet being caught, mutilated and/or killed in a trap—and being helpless to save them. I took a class to learn how to release my dog if he became trapped and found that I could never free him in time, especially from a conibear trap.
I am compelled to include my concerns about the indiscriminate deaths caused by trappers: species that are endangered and non-target victims of trappers actions. In closing, as mentioned above, my husband is a hunter and maintains that trapping is not fair chase. There is nothing sporting about setting a trap and baiting it.
We read with great interest Dan Brooks column on the Ryan Adams concert at the Wilma (see "Earning an encore," Aug. 18). We have attended several concerts at the Wilma and have been dismayed at the lack of respect and attention by audience members. We simply do not understand why anyone would pay money to hear an artist and then spend the evening talking over the performance. It is disrespectful to the artist certainly and is downright rude behavior to fellow audience members.
At a concert this summer we actually requested assistance from the staff to quiet those behind us at the bar who did not stop their chatter once the "warm-up" took the stage. In this case the talkative groups cooperated and we were able to enjoy the main performer. Unfortunately for friends, seated in the prime balcony front rows, even a request from staff and themselves did not silence the nonstop, loud conversation behind them—it continued for the entire concert. At this same seated performance another group of friends were on the main floor, close to the stage, and they could not even see the performers because the table in front of them insisted on standing and dancing through the entire performance. What the hell?
We think good manners should be in play here. The final result for us: We carefully choose who we will pay money to hear at the Wilma, a wonderfully restored venue.
We appreciate the article and the attention it will hopefully draw to this social problem.
Last, for years we have attended most of the performances in the Bitterroot Performing Arts series in Hamilton and have never encountered a problem with a disrespectful audience. Apparently the Bitterroot Valley crowd knows their manners!
Bobbie and Shirley McKibbin
Missoula is a wonderful place to live. Rich cultural experiences, excellent recreational access and a robust community of outdoor enthusiasts have dovetailed to create unparalleled quality of life in our town. And, well, the secret is out. Since 1990 Missoula's population has nearly doubled, and with that growth the constituency of trail users has exploded.
This increase in trail use by hikers, cyclists, runners and horseback riders has outpaced expansion of trail resources in recent years. User conflicts such as the one described by Ms. Hendricks in a recent letter to the editor (see "A place to walk," Sept. 8) can be mitigated through education campaigns, common etiquette and mutual respect, but a real solution lies in trail supply catching up with demand. The city of Missoula Open Space Program, Five Valleys Land Trust and concerned landowners are working hard to protect and expand public access for recreation of all types in the Missoula Valley. Those groups deserve our support over the next several years.
However, open space protection takes time. Until Missoula sees trail growth to match its population, the entire trail-using community needs to embrace the shared nature of public land. This means riding in control as well as remaining aware of our surroundings as we hike. It means leaving the headphones in the car and keeping our dogs under control. And it means acknowledging that different areas are tailored to different recreational preferences.
No one should recreate in anxiety of conflict, which is why MTB Missoula makes rider education and etiquette central to its mission. With that said, the title, "A place to walk" insinuates the false premise that hikers have no place to remove themselves from wheeled trail users.
Worth noting is that the southern half of Mount Jumbo is closed to bicycles, as is the vast majority of trails on Mount Sentinel and the entirety of the North Hills. The Rattlesnake Recreation Area features several miles of meandering creekside trails that are open only to hikers and horses, and Blue Mountain has many miles of trail that are off-limits for bikes. This is not to mention the 3.4 million acres of federally designated wilderness in Montana alone—including the Rattlesnake and Selway-Bitterroot wildernesses that frame our valley—where bicycles are not allowed.
The vast network of backyard trails is a large part of why we call Missoula home. It rests on all of us to protect this resource for the generations of tomorrow, and that starts with working together today. I encourage trail users of all stripes to get out and enjoy our trails but to be mindful of other recreationists, realistic in expectations of a heavily used trail network and vocal in support of Missoula open space.
The next president will have a big challenge on their agenda. How do they satisfy everyone? Who will get left out? Here are just a few wishes of individuals and groups that want their needs met, in no special order.
College students want less expensive tuition. Women want equal pay for equal work. The military wants more war materials. Big business wants more tax abatements. Ranchers and farmers want higher prices, but consumers want lower prices. Oil companies want more money for oil and gas, but car and truck drivers want lower gas prices. Students want less homework and need more time for themselves. Senior citizens want better and lower medical costs. The war mongers want war so they can make more money but the peace people want no wars. The polluters want less regulations so they can pollute more and make more money, but the environmentalists want more regulations.
Republicans and Democrats have forgotten how to work together. All they want to do is get even with each other and forget about helping the people in the United States. Most citizens want a government that works for all.
Elephants don't forget and donkeys are stubborn. You put them both in a room together and what do you get? A lot of manure. People want less manure and more accomplishments in America.
It seems like many of the politicians in Washington are like a vacuum sweeper. You plug them in, turn them on and you know what they do?
Everybody wants something but usually something turns into nothing! We need harmony and if we have harmony we need a conductor. A conductor needs a baton. A baton is a stick that Republicans and Democrats use to hit each other. We need harmony and progress. What do you want?
LaVon D. Brillhart
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