Thursday, September 21, 2023

Letters to the editor Sept. 10

| September 10, 2023 12:00 AM

Public access to private land

As fall rolls in, hunters are reminded they need permission to hunt on all private land. We are lucky to have ample public lands in the Flathead for recreation. And corporate timberlands such as Southern Pines (formerly Plum Creek), Stoltze, Stimson and Green Diamond have an open recreation policy with no sign in needed.

But those are still private lands and need to be respected. Some former Plum Creek land is now owned by the Flathead Ridge Ranch and they allow public hunting under a Block Management Agreement. Hunting and recreating is a privilege, ours to keep or lose.

Flathead Wildlife just completed a cleanup on Flathead Ridge Ranch including the Hidden Lakes Overlook on Red Gate Road, at Hidden Falls, down the Hubbart Dam Road and around Hubbart Reservoir. We filled a pickup with trash, despite doing a cleanup in the same areas the year before.

Particularly prominent were spent shotgun shells and broken clay targets. Flathead Ridge Ranch is not a trap club. And even at a trap club you are expected to clean up your empties. If the public continues to abuse the access privilege, Flathead Ridge Ranch could well be closed.

Similarly, Stoltze, Stimson and Green Diamond continue to deal with litter, off road vehicles and destroyed gates. If abuse continues, we could lose access to hundreds of thousands of acres.

Respect the land, treat it like your own. Take responsibility, pick up trash, report problems and violations. Thank the landowners who work with hunters to manage Montana’s incredible wildlife resources.

— Jim Vashro, Flathead Wildlife

Thank you, firefighters

A heartfelt thank you to all the wildland and local firefighters who have been working so hard to keep our valley safe this summer. It has been such a relief for all of us to have you here.

Please know that each of you is much appreciated beyond what words can express! If there’s anything that can be done to make your time here less stressful I hope you’d let us know.

— Linda Miller, Columbia Falls

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