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Re: “A new Missoula business offers curbside compost pickup

Is the city hiring to run that program? I would love to move back to Missoula to run a composting program.

Posted by Mason Gem on 10/20/2017 at 8:46 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.


In his recent opinion piece in the Missoula Independent, Rick Bass intentionally makes a series of errors, widespread smears, and outright untruths about the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) as it winds (yes, winds Rick, more on that later). Basss oppositional rhetoric to the PNT even disinters the ghost of famed grizzly bear researcher Chuck Jonkel to give a shine of credibility to his self-indulgent diatribe.

First things first, I am a lifelong wilderness advocate and grizzly bear proponent, with longer than Basss time in Montana since he moved from his native Texas. I relish the presence of the great bruin in large wild places, but I also believe that wilderness has to be experienced to be appreciated and valued by society. Bass seems to think that he belongs to the small, entitled Yaak Yacht Club that is blessed with self-granted access to the wild of upper Yaak, and he apparently loathes others enjoying and recreating his adopted backyard. The entire article smacks of wilderness elitism that seems to come from the recent arrivals to Montana as they seek to close the gate behind them on the way in.

The Pacific Northwest Trail was designated by Congress in 2009 as one of Americas 11 National Scenic Trails. It is a validation of conservation movement as it creation definitely aids in protecting the very grizzly habitat that Bass and I deeply care about.

Basss first salvo of propaganda comes from his characterizing the PNT as a recreational hellhole, a rogue, unapproved 1,200-mile spur trail to the much-trampled Pacific Crest Trail. Lets address the spur trail allegation. The PNT almost entirely follows existing trails and roads that already provide mobility in the Yaak (see the maps at ). It is not being bulldozed in, it is simply a route utilizing existing US Forest Service infrastructure. Bass falsely states that The Pacific Northwest Trail Association (PNTA) drew a ruler through the upper Yaak to create the PNT route. If one were to spend more than a moment looking the actual maps of the route, you would see that the trail winds through Yaak using existing trails and roads. The proposed trail goes through the heart of roadless country? By following existing roads and trails (and yes the occasional off-trail excursion) does not invalidate the concept of roadless areas. Bass is quite deceptive in creating the illusion of new infrastructure that tears ass through the middle of the Yaaks prime grip habitat. Bass double-downs on his straight-line trail falsehood again by writing, the idea of a thru-hiking trail, an endurance-jock human highway, a zone of disturbance 1,000 feet wide, running in a straight line from Glacier National Park to the Pacific Coast.

This brings us to Basss naked intolerance for others using his wilderness. He has somehow absolved himself of any impact in Yaak Valley, yet he collects firewood, drives the roads, hunts wild game that could feed many a bear, and lives in a home. His own ecological impact on the Yaak is much higher that of some hiker that spends a couple of days in the area. In this piece, he repeatedly characterizes to hikers as jocks, bloggers (yeah Rick, hikers cant write), and polluters on an industrial scale. The truth is hikers are by-and-large extremely conservation-mined and vocal, effective advocates for wild places around the globe.

Now enter into the world of math magic by Bass where he simply pulls numbers out of thin air and molds them to bolster his own argument. Lets consider his dubious reasoning;

Lets say a modest average of 4,000 thru-hikers per season pass through, spending a week or more, crossing the upper Yaak. Thats more than 30,000 user-nights, a potential 60,000 campfires.

First, the modest 4,000 hiker number is completely plucked from a fevered imagination. The other popular thru-trail in the western United States is Pacific Crest Trail. It follows the Pacific coastal mountains from California, through Oregon, and terminating in Washington, and it received 5,657 permitted thru-hikers last year. Of that number, only 707 actually completed the entire route. It is improbable that the isolated PNT would ever see numbers even remotely close to those levels.

Second, the PNT route has a total mileage of roughly 45 miles from Gypsy Meadows in the east to the Idaho border. Thru-hikers have to make time as they have a vast distance to travel before the season changes in order to complete the complete thru-hike. You actually think that they will average one week to travel 45 miles on existing trails and roads through the Yaak when they need to cover 1,200 miles in the short season?

And finally, his absolute bullshit 60,000 campsites based on the erroneous 30,000 user-nights. First, have you ever lit two campfires every night on any of your hiking trips? The answer for this kid is a resounding HELL NO! And almost every hiker that would ever dream to undertake an endeavor like the challenging PNT would not have any inclination to create a campfire every goddamn night. Rick, ever heard of a backpacking stove or packaged meals?

However, Bass is not without a heart for the plight of the hiker and our government agencies. He seems to be deeply concerned with the workload of the US Border Patrol. I cant imagine the U.S. Border Patrol is too happy about the route, he speculates. Are you kidding me? He wants to exclude people from the Yaak because of its proximity to the United States/Canada border because border securitythat is absolutely laughable and completely unfounded.

Basss final indignity is creating the oh-so-convenient myth of the lost, garbage-lobbing hikers. But this current wandering dusty stream of lost penitents, leaving messy camps, is neither legal, acceptable nor necessary. He inflates the number of lost hikers to encompass all thru-hikers in his mind while completely ignoring that almost all hikers religiously apply Leave No Trace ethics to their campsites, which are almost always existing spots. Legal? It is illegal to hike, Mr. Bass? Where in the recesses of your mind did you come up with the idea that it is against the law to hike through your precious backyard? He even seems to think that the publishing of the route maps is somehow encouraging and abetting illegal use. This language that would make any jailhouse lawyer proud.

So, does Bass have any enlightened, Solomon-like wisdom to resolve the vaguely perceivable conflict between the PNT and grizzly bear habitat in the Yaak? His solution to simply recommend that the PNT go through someone elses backyard. He constructs one straw-man argument after another to preserve his own personal aesthetic of the Yaak Valley, a vast wilderness available only to the select, privileged few (and imagine that he is among them).

And one more thing, if Rick Bass is so concerned about over-use the Yaak, why has he made a career of popularizing the area to his massive readership? Words contained in the Book of the Yaak and Winter have surely intrigued many of the hikers seeking to travel the Pacific Northwest Trail, and yet, he fails to recognize his own influence.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Radd Icenoggle on 10/20/2017 at 8:45 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

Great article, really well researched! I think the use of profanity was really clever too. From one Rick to another, I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling - I gotta make you understand - I'm never gonna run around and desert you.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rick on 10/20/2017 at 8:15 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

I used to respect Rick Bass for his writing but this rambling piece is deeply flawed, starting with the title! Unauthorized route? An act of Congress created the route of the PNT through the Yaak. I just don't understand why he would risk his reputation by publishing this kind of fake news.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Fred on 10/20/2017 at 7:46 PM

Re: “Gerald's Game serves its hair-raising purpose

I hope you were assigned to review this and that it wasn't a free choice of your time. I'd rather you review an oldie and goodie one.

Posted by Janet Abbey on 10/20/2017 at 6:22 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

This article is a joke. I have hike the pnt twice and the less than 100 hikers that attempt this trail respect the woods. The only time I see trash is when the trail is a dirt road. I have spent 125 days on this trail and have not had a single fire.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by billy on 10/20/2017 at 5:16 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

The southerly route Bass pushes goes through the same grizzly recovery area, it just doesn't go through Yaak. It's not the grizzlies he's worried about.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by edd on 10/20/2017 at 2:07 PM

Re: “Best Men’s Haircut

Nice Information Keep It Up.

Best Curly Hair Salon NYC

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by aslam farooqui on 10/20/2017 at 1:59 PM

Re: “Art and a-holes: When to say no, from Harvey Weinstein to XXXTentacion

Keep on winning, Garret! Someday someone will care. <3

Posted by sadviolin on 10/20/2017 at 1:08 PM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

What Rick refers to as a "high-use human highway" is a 14 inch wide trail that 1) has already existed for decades and 2) sees a grand total of about 95 hikers per YEAR. If Rick was actually concerned about grizzlies (and not just about living out his tough-but-erudite-man-alone-in-the-woods fantasy) he'd be fighting to close FS roads in the Yaak, and to stop the delisting of grizzlies.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Sean Dupuis on 10/20/2017 at 10:48 AM

Re: “The Pacific Northwest Trail is blazing an unauthorized route through the Yaak—grizzlies be damned. Rick Bass says there's a better way, and he needs Missoula's help.

MWA got lost in Montana when they overextended their overhead costs as they abandoned their grass roots. When PEW Trust (Sun Oil) money came along they chose to protect their organization staff and offices over protecting wilderness. This deal with the devil cost MWA its soul and cost all of us our common heritage of public land wilderness. MWA continues its fire sale on public forests and has bought a seat at the table of the political elite by trading off Wilderness Study Areas and continually eroding what had been staunch wildland advocacy by the people of Montana.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Larry Campbell on 10/20/2017 at 8:56 AM

Re: “Art and a-holes: When to say no, from Harvey Weinstein to XXXTentacion

There you go, you get your feminism kudo for the day for writing such a good feminist article. Oh wait, you did something in your past that I personally dislike? No kudos for you! Your art's worth is directly related to whether you're PC or not, and you sir have failed my arbitrary test!

Don't get me wrong, I think Young Dagger Dick (something else the rapper called himself, which I find absolutely silly) is a talentless hack who just so happened to figure out that prodding outrage from the morally vacuous and thin-skinned is rather profitable. But dismissing his work because of elements of his character is simply wrong. You said you liked his one song not based on the merits or degeneration of the singer's personality. It was 'sound' - musical qualities that happened to tickle your fancy. That's it. So you can like music for it in itself, but now you try to appease your Feminist taskmasters by shrinking up and rejecting music not based on its sound but rather based on whether the sound-maker offends someone's sensibilities? Come on, you know better than that.

Would you stop charging your phone because Edison, who pioneered Direct Current, used to steal and electrocute peoples' pets to slander Tesla's Alternating Current? Would you reject notions like, 'Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise' because the speaker Ben Franklin rather enjoyed French hookers while married? Are you going to throw your computer away because the myriad of software and hardware developers have all had varied lives with all manner of disagreeable sentiments and moments in them?

Are you beginning to see the folly of your line of thinking? If you accept this notion that you must judge a piece of art or work based on the personal character and unrelated actions of the maker, then you will have to throw literally everything you enjoy away because everyone is an asshole on some level or another. In Dagger Dick's case he's a massive asshole who hopefully gets to consider his craft behind bars should the allegations against him prove true. But if you like his ode to narcissism because it sounds good to you, then the only thing someone can accuse you of potentially is whether or not your taste in music is good, not that you are suddenly immoral for enjoying someone's work.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Garret Morrill on 10/20/2017 at 1:27 AM

Re: “Missoula joins ACLU's suit to block Montana's 'bathroom bill'

Mmm, can't let those pesky plebeians potentially vote for themselves their bathroom preferences. Democracy when its convenient, Totalitarianism when it isn't - anything to advance your founder's mission, eh ACLU?

Posted by Garret Morrill on 10/20/2017 at 1:04 AM

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