For the same reasons all whores, with their pimps watching, parrot why they "love" their pimps.
Coincidentally, I wrote a list of my favorite things about Missoula last week -- as I am returning home after ten months away ...
In 2003, I moved to Montana for grad school and the cool area code (406!). When I told people that I was headed to Missoula, the reaction was an almost uniform "Oh I love that town!". If I asked why, I got "It's the people!" That cryptic phrase just made me more curious. What about the people?!
This past year I've traveled a lot — both in the US and abroad — and although I've met warmhearted folks everywhere, and been fascinated, educated, shocked, concerned and charmed by the world — the journey has only made me appreciate Missoula, and the folks who live here, more. Urban planners say that the health of a city is tied to identity — "a sense of place"— a feeling of belonging to a specific, one-of-a-kind community. Missoula has many special qualities. (Sometimes I think our license plates should say "IT'S SO MISSOULA!") Here is my top 20 list of favorite things about Missoula. What are yours?
1. Lolo Peak. It stands like a guardian over the valley — Lolo inspires me to get up and get outside and climb to greater heights. The beautiful presence of the mountain, and the winter wonderland that it provides, energizes life in Missoula.
2. A million non-profits. Forbes Magazine says Missoula has more non-profits per person than anywhere else in the country. Maybe that's why every social event in town is a fundraiser?! How good it is to live in a place where people both care and pitch in.
3. Almost as many parades as pubs. The Day of the Dead is my favorite — it's quintessential Missoula: wild, quirky, colorful, creative and beautiful. Everyone welcome — and African dancing and fire spinning afterward!
4. Local food fetishists. With the help of our expansive farmer's markets, which make saturdays and wednesdays a delicious hobnobbing celebration, Missoula food culture is about local, sustainable, self-reliance, and the gourmet results from our selection of fresh veggies, cheeses, bison, cattle and chickens, our local wine, cherries and apples and raspberries, wild mushrooms and huckleberries, craft beer and original ice cream flavors.
5. The bar at Snowbowl. Homemade soups and pizzas and Bloody Marys after a day on snow. Seeing folks you know with their flushed-faced afterglow. The giant fireplace. The fact that the day costs $40 or less, instead of $100. Hey, that sounds like all the downhill spots around Missoula!
6. The % of biologists per capita. Want to know what the genus of that tree is, those birds, the stats on spring run-off, or that animal track in the snow? No problem, ask the person standing next to you — from my personal experience there is a 1 in 5 chance they are a graduate of the University of Montana's Environmental Studies Program (one of the first in the country), a student in the Forestry Department, or someone getting their PHD in Biological Sciences.
7. Guys on skateboards being pulled by their dogs. Alternately: the intrepid Clark Fork River surfers.
8. The 'so-called' parking tickets. After a week in Los Angeles (and the $73 tickets), Missoula's system of a warning, then a $5 ticket, and then $10 if you do it again etc. is so reasonable! — Sending little heart icons in my mind to the meter maids right now.
9. The energy of this place — curious, world-traveled, active, volunteer-centric, dynamic, and supportive of audacious athletic and creative pursuits. A few of my favorite enterprises that bring the community together: The Top Hat, The Hive, the ZACC, the Wilma, Headwaters Dance, the MAM, the Made Fair, the free concerts, The Co-op, and the food trucks.
10. It's not about stuff. It's about experience. Traveling around the U.S. I found that places where the culture didn't revolve around "stuff" were few and far between. In Missoula how much money you have does not factor into whether or not people treat you with respect.
11. How many CSA's are there again? Did you know that Garden City Harvest oversees ten community CSA gardens — including the beautiful Peas Farm, and a number of educational projects for Missoula? And then there are many smaller CSA ventures — who knows how many we actually have!
12. Ice skating under the moon in Rattlesnake park. So quiet, so cold, so fresh.
13. Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. For ten days, in the middle of February, Missoula is the most erudite spot on the planet. The always-impressive roster of documentaries, workshops and industry insiders brings fascinating cultural energy to Missoula's downtown and warms us up in the middle of winter.
14. The trails —for hiking and biking and cross-country skiing, and running and camping and strolling, and exploring and breathing fresh air and finding beauty everywhere.
15. The long, stretched-out hours of light in the early evening in the summer — when the vividness of color makes Missoula look like a painting.
16. Ospreys — both birds and baseball. Watching a game on a summer evening, with a view of the sunset reflecting in the Clark Fork river, and the possibility of seeing the Osprey birds nesting by the outfield.
17. The Festival of the Book. Gathering in our vintage Wilma Theater, with a glass of wine from the bar and a chocolate truffle from next-door, to hear brilliant readings and intimate conversations about writing and the life and the landscape here … ahhh.
18. Jumping into a cold Rattlesnake River swimming hole. And then screaming and jumping out!
19. Sustainable living is real here. Home Resource and Homeward and MUD and FreeCycles and Heritage Timber and the Co-op, and the many land trusts, earth-friendly farms, so many conservation groups and non-profits ...
20. The niceness factor. People stop and wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and they say hello to strangers with a smile. The thing I like the most about Missoula is this feeling I have here that everyone somehow decided that being friendly and spreading a little warmheartedness around would make the world a better place -- and so, for the most-part, folks interact with that MO. You can feel it at the hardware store, at the local markets, at Brenan's Wave, at the chairlift, at any of the fundraising runs. I'm not saying there isn't some conflict and crime and craziness, but it isn't what people experience day to day like we do the friendly vibe. Maybe it's the weather, or Missoula's roots in Norwegian cooperative culture that bring out a "we're all in this together" ethos?
With the daffodils up, and spring coming, it feels like a time to celebrate and give thanks. Missoula, thanks for being here!
Thank you for posting/printing this. Good one!
Please send it to the news outlets mentioned in the piece for Opinion section consideration, plus Wall Street Journal (they had a hand in some coverage) , Washington Post and Seattle PI & Times. (I suggest sending individually, so filters don't kick it back as spam.)
I especially appreciate your noting #1,2,5,9,10,11. The other commenters make a good point about nonprofits & peace efforts, too.
Regardless of the quality of Krakauer's book, my hope is that the publicity results in reaching people who do not realize the prevalence of sexual violence against women and girls, and the lack of prosecutions and punishment.
My hope, also, is that the barrage of attention on Missoula will help keep pressure on local investigators, prosecutors, UM Athletic Dept., bystanders, university & local government officials ... really, everyone in our community, so that women and girls live freely and without fear. So that criminals are prosecuted. So that boys are raised to grow up to be respectful, constructive, smart, caring and helpful people.
Missoula has a lot going for it! Thank you for reminding folks.
Having the most nonprofits per capita and a strong history of peacemakers, including Jeannette Rankin should make the list as well.
Having the most nonprofits and a strong history of peacemakers should make the list too!
Wow, nice piece. Don't think it'll sustain the media barrage that'll start on Tuesday, however.
Long past due that Missoula gave itself a hard talking to. We've got issues here, and they need to be resolved.
Montana Developmental Center is Ordered to Cease Taking New Admissions in its Secure Unit http://www.matr.net/article-65606.html
A good example of the interest in operations, missed in an otherwise good article: George Sellios executed and extensive rebuild of the Franklin & South Manchester to facilitate operations. See Model Railroad Hobbyist March/April 2010. (Also, to my knowledge, the F&SM was never a faithful reproduction of a real world location). I spent many years as a scratch-builder, only recently discovering that operations is for many the most engaging part of the "worlds greatest hobby".
Before long the generations of Americans who grew up appreciating our open spaces and the priceless fulfillment they add to our lives will all be gone, and the subsequent media drunk generations either simply won't care or won't notice all the freedoms and liberties that made this country great were all replaced with a coke n a smile.
I agree we should be wary of the corporatists' manipulation of public opinion on both sides of the issue, as it is the modus operandi to control both sides, dividing and conquering the public for their narrow interests.
Having said that, it seems to me that it is more consistent with the founding principles of this nation to have the people keep more direct power and control over their resources than a centralized authority in Washington.
Seems naive to me to assume that Federal means "for the public," given the decades of incremental corruption of the Federal government by the sophisticated corporatist interests that have bought our representatives off in DC.
If you want to test Fielder's claim that the state would not sell the land just google up Illinois, North Dakota or Indiana 'public land history'. History and present day actions show that states where transfer has happened did and do sell it off. If you add language about public access to hunting when you google you will be struck by the extreme loss of access that would result from these right wing transfer promoters who will get red and enraged at the closure of any public land roads. Their fact-free land transfer debate points lead into blatant inconsistencies. If you want to be left looking over the wall into the King's hunting preserve just go for land transfer and watch Big Money push you out of our public land. And this is not the 'Agenda 21' boogeyman that the same right wing folks conjure up to falsely claim enviros want to push people out. How can the proponents be so blind to the implications and not see the contradictions? That's blind ideology at work.
A States theft of US federal land is nothing more than secession. What these traitors are doing is the EXACT same thing that the treasonous Confederate States were saying and doing that started the Civil War. Fielder and all those who think as she does are enemies of the United States and need prosecuted and punished as such.
Why is it that people think that the federal government is the only government that can manage lands? Couldn't the state do the same things the federal government is doing, except better represent the desires of local citizens?
The BLM makes $4 for the Treasury for every $1 it spends. Unfortunately that money doesn't come back to the BLM but funds a plethora of other programs or is diverted. How could a state take over fed lands and manage them without a loss? Fuzzy math, that's how.
You forgot Lane County Concussion Men's Roller Derby out of Eugene. And there is a new team out of Spokane :-) :-) :-) we love to travel and like helping out new teams. FYI, I used to ref and skate in MT for Billings Roller Derby Dames under my current skater name Dr B. Get ahold of us at www.lanecountyrollerderby.com :-) :-)
As I said before, basic services should be provided by public entities, which at least nominally have the public's best interest at heart; not by private businesses, whose first concerns are their bottom lines. And what is more basic than water ?
For a prime example of what goes wrong when a public water system is privatized, do a google search and see what happened about 10 or 15 years ago, when the World Bank and IMF insisted that Cochabamba, Bolivia's water system be sold, and was sold to a group which included the Bechtel Corporation.
I don't know about other states, but it was obvious that in Idaho it was all about the money. "Taking back" the federal lands was seen simply as an infusion of quick and easy money into the state treasury. But once they crunched the numbers, they - except for a few true-believing diehards - dropped the idea like a hot baked Idaho tater. Even our governor : "Butch" Otter, not the sharpest pencil in the drawer - and no one would ever accuse him of being a blazing liberal or an environmentalist, saw the folly in the scheme and opposed it.
And what'll happen if the states, by some bizarre twist do gain control of the federal lands ? What the don't sell off to the highest bidder right at the get-go, they'll slick off every merchantable matchstick, overgraze it to bare dirt, an then demand (yet again) that the "evil, over-reaching" feds bail them out -- again. That seems to be pretty much the story of the west.
I was involved in recreation, Wilderness, and trail management in this and another FS Region, at both the Ranger District and Forest Supervisor's office levels. I experienced both contracting out campground administration and trail maintenance, and doing it "in-house" ("Force Account", in FS jargon). Believe me, using our own crews was far easier to administer, it took less time, there were far fewer disputes and other headaches, we generally got significantly superior performance, and it was significantly less expensive.
As I recall, the push for privatization began in the 1980s during Bonzo RayGuns's reign, when the spineless and completely ineffective Dale Robertson was Chief of the FS.
The federal govt. did not "divest itself" of eastern lands--it never owned much back east in the first place; and what it has now it mostly had to buy! The Louisiana Purchase and treaties with Mexico and Great Britain brought the West into federal ownership. Land was then sold for homesteads, granted to railroads, and later, set aside for national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, and military uses. Congress was very clear in western statehood acts--new states got some land for schools, Uncle Sam kept the rest and that's it. There's no eventually give away envisioned. In those days the US govt was land rich and cash poor. These nutty ideas that western states, who can't afford to adequately take care of what have now, could take on millions of new acres or flood the market with those acres doesn't pass the "silly" test. We've seen this push for state ownership of federal land cycle through about once a decade. They always fizzle when ranchers figure out what would happen if they had to pay the much higher state grazing fees, and when people who can do math figure out the cost to state governments.
I think we all should take note that this "drive to privatize" the ownership or management of public lands exists at both the state and the federal level. Daines vote in the US senate to allocate resources establishing a reserve fund to sell public lands is but one example. Federal land management agencies are desperate for additional sources of revenue and are quite prepared to transfer their management of public resources to the private sector. The management of campgrounds and federal lands are increasingly being outsourced to private contractors who immediately establish or increase usage fees. If you don't pay the fees you are guilty of trespass on PUBLIC lands. The USFS "Fee Demo" program is one example. Unless we do something or at least speak out against this theft your hunting, fishing, and recreation will end up as one more "pay to play" disneyland adventure.
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