Public comment


To the editor,


This letter is a blanket response to opinion pieces written by Toby Dahl, Debby Barrett and Dan Happel in the Oct. 16th issue of the Dillon Tribune. 

The 3 writers made maximum use of their allotted 400 word limit (wink, wink), ranting about out-of-state environmental groups being involved in the management of public land and public wildlife. Sorry about the involvement gang, but that’s how the democratic process works: Public land and public wildlife is public owned.

Dahl, Barrett and Happel are all in some capacity representing people making profits on or adjacent to public land. As advocates for private, special interest groups, they have the constitutional right to challenge how the state and federal governments manage public resources. The flip side to this challenge is that environmental groups in or out-of-state have the right to point out how some “special interest,” free marketeers doing business on public ground are also enrolled in the Federal Government Farm Welfare System. (established during the Great Depression, 1930’s) That’s old news so let it slide. After all, as Madison County commissioner, Dan Happel says, “It’s our traditional, rural way of life.”

Here are a few suggestions to improve public-landowner relations:

Mr. Dahl’s United Property Owners will keep wildlife off their private holdings by building fences around said property. Fencing will keep animals off and the unwashed out.

Mrs. Barrett has the power to craft state legislation mandating the numbers of predators and herbivores seeking a free lunch on private land. Solutions: Owners construct better fences and hire buckaroos to ride herd when exotic livestock graze public land. The boys can watch the stock and keep eyes out for unwashed trespassers.

Mr. Happel has the ability to commission public funds for constructing New Mexico style wolf proof cages to protect children waiting for the school bus. We can’t have wolves “Breaking Bad” up here in Montana. Solution: Build cages, arm the children and stand your ground.

Toby, Debby and Dan the Man can rant and rave non-stop how mainstream environmental groups are destroying rural Montana, but real Americans are not buying it.

Montana’s close proximity to National Parks and pristine federal wilderness makes it truly one of our planets “last best places.” These areas attract visitors from all parts of the world who arrive bearing gifts of cold, hard cash. They come to view complete ecosystems where they have a pretty good chance of seeing native predators at work.

It’s always difficult building bridges leading to middle-road compromise, especially dealing with Cruzian-like (Ted) ideologues. 

In might be best to just push for internationalizing the Montana territory. Just put the “last best place” under the jurisdiction of the United Nations. That’s my final solution. What say you comrade Happel?


Mike Mosolf