• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

We are inching along, but not as quickly as we (or you) would like. If you have already donated, thank you so much. If you haven’t had a chance, consider skipping the coffee this week and drop CounterPunch $5 or more. We provide our content for free, but it costs us a lot to do so. Every dollar counts.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Memo to Tourists: Enjoy Montana, Don’t Destroy Montana

Photograph Source: PD-USGov-Interior-FWS – Public Domain

Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of the camping season in Montana. We are a state rich in natural assets already lost in most the nation, such as clear, clean and cold flowing streams filled with wild trout, forests and plains that still hold grizzly bears, mountain lions, elk, antelope and deer, and of course two premier national parks. It’s no wonder more than 10 million tourists visit our state annually, providing more than $7 billion to the economy. Montanans are legendary for their hospitality, but we also expect visitors to respect our state, follow our laws and rules and enjoy, not destroy, Montana.

It’s really easy to have a great time in Montana thanks to our abundant public lands and the resources they nourish. But our forests, plains and mountains are not “domesticated.” They maintain rare natural functioning ecosystems that can and have been impacted by human activities. Hence, it’s up to humans to be aware of their “footprint” — whether it’s an actual footprint or the impacts from their mechanized transportation.

A simple way to do this is by using “common sense.” Even if you’re on a tight vacation schedule, realize that Mother Nature calls the shots here. If the mountain bike or ATV trails are muddy after a recent rain or snow event, stay off of them — or leave your bike or ATV behind and go hiking instead. Why? Because when recreationists ride muddy trails the run-off goes inexorably downhill until it reaches a stream or river. There it will fall to the bottom and fill the interstices between the streambed’s rocks and suffocate the tiny aquatic insects that are the foundation of the riverine food pyramid. It can also kill any eggs or young fry in those tiny spaces between the rocks.

Likewise, if you’re here in the spring or fall when the trout are spawning, pay close attention to where you’re wading while fishing and avoid the cleared spaces on river bottoms, called redds, where trout lay their eggs. One angler walking through a redd can destroy most of the fragile eggs there, wiping out efforts to produce the next generation of wild trout. Speaking of which, please follow the regulations and limit your kill. And don’t crowd anglers on streams and rivers when fishing or floating — “elbow room” is cherished here and you won’t get a good response by intruding on others’ personal space.

When camping, follow the rules. If an area says “tents only” it means tents only. If it says “no open fires” it means just that, especially during our ever longer fire seasons when an errant spark can set wildfires in forests or plains. And of course, please don’t treat Montana’s parks or roadsides as garbage cans. Every year thousands of volunteers clean our roadsides of trash thoughtlessly thrown out of moving vehicles — and clean roadsides are a source of pride for our citizens.

Don’t ignore “no trespassing” signs or closed gates. Many who visit have no familiarity with livestock operations — or the sometimes fatal consequences from an open gate leading to a tragic collision with livestock on the roads.

Likewise, please don’t harass our wildlife. It’s against state law to allow your dog(s) to chase wildlife, especially when newborn fawns or calves are just wobbling around on unsteady legs.

Finally, you’ll get along a lot better in Montana if you treat Montanans with respect and courtesy. It’s easy to do since Montanans are easygoing people — and you’ll find the result is more than worth the effort.

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 22, 2019
Gary Leupp
The Kurds as U.S. Sacrificial Lambs
Robert Fisk
Trump and the Retreat of the American Empire
John Feffer
Trump’s Endless Wars
Marshall Auerback
Will the GOP Become the Party of Blue-Collar Conservatism?
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Trump’s Fake Withdrawal From Endless War
Dean Baker
Trump Declares Victory in China Trade War
Patrick Bond
Bretton Woods Institutions’ Neoliberal Over-Reach Leaves Global Governance in the Gutter
Robert Hunziker
XR Co-Founder Discusses Climate Emergency
John W. Whitehead
Terrorized, Traumatized and Killed: The Police State’s Deadly Toll on America’s Children
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A World Partnership for Ecopolitical Health and Security
Binoy Kampmark
The Decent Protester: a Down Under Creation
Frances Madeson
Pro-Democracy Movement in Haiti Swells Despite Police Violence
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Challenges Logging and Burning Project in Methow Valley
Chelli Stanley
Change the Nation You Live In
Elliot Sperber
Humane War 
October 21, 2019
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Wolf at the Door: Adventures in Fundraising With Cockburn
Rev. William Alberts
Myopic Morality: The Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Sheldon Richman
Let’s Make Sure the Nazis Killed in Vain
Horace G. Campbell
Chinese Revolution at 70: Twists and Turns, to What?
Jim Kavanagh
The Empire Steps Back
Ralph Nader
Where are the Influentials Who Find Trump Despicable?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Poll Projection: Left-Leaning Jagmeet Singh to Share Power with Trudeau in Canada
Thomas Knapp
Excuses, Excuses: Now Hillary Clinton’s Attacking Her Own Party’s Candidates
Brian Terrell
The United States Air Force at Incirlik, Our National “Black Eye”
Paul Bentley
A Plea for More Cynicism, Not Less: Election Day in Canada
Walter Clemens
No Limits to Evil?
Robert Koehler
The Collusion of Church and State
Kathy Kelly
Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition
Charlie Simmons
How the Tax System Rewards Polluters
Chuck Collins
Who is Buying Seattle? The Perils of the Luxury Real Estate Boom
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail