Wednesday Apr. 23, 2014
Opinion
 

Before you know it, the long winter will be a forgotten memory - except for the powder days. As it finally warms up for good (whatever that means this year), school will be out and tourists will be inbound for another summer.

It's almost tourist season. Are you ready?

Is your facility ready? I'm sure you have a checklist for that, so I won't go there.

Instead, let's discuss some steps to help you make tourist season better than expected:
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On April 8, news hit that Gov. Steve Bullock nominated 5.1 million acres of Montana’s national forests for “expedited forest management,” including logging under a new program included in the long-bickered-over Farm Bill. The Montana Wood Products Association said happy things, in stereo with bipartisan praise from all three of Montana’s Congresscritters, while the usual Green litigants snarled and moaned.

Handsprings and cartwheels, right? Um, not yet.
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I am writing about the pro-life and pro Second Amendment stance of the current Republican candidates for the U.S. House seat. Matt Rosendale, Elsie Arntzen, Corey Stapleton and Ryan Zinke are pro-life and pro Second Amendment, all support defunding Planned Parenthood with federal dollars and believe that life should be protected. Ryan Zinke is the only one of the four who actually carried and presented a pro-life bill for Right to Life of Montana, the Unborn Victims of Homicide bill, which is now law in Montana.
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It is sad to see that campaign signs have again started to litter our roadsides. The campaign rules state that campaign signs cannot be displayed in zoned areas more than 30 days before the mailing of absentee ballots for any election. Therefore, campaign signs should not appear in zoned areas before May 5 for the upcoming primary. There are no regulations or guidelines for un-zoned areas of the county. We who live in the county have to suffer the campaign litter endlessly in many cases. Ryan Zinke’s campaign signs appeared on our county roadsides about the middle of March, and who knows when they will be removed.
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The Fourth Amendment to our Constitution attempts to protect us from unreasonable search and seizure. Generally speaking, that has meant that what is personally private should not be disturbed by the federal government unless there is an overriding public need, typically one involving a national security issue. Who decides, and under what set of processes, what is “reasonable” and just what constitutes “search” and/or “seizure,” is open for debate.

The question first becomes, “How much of our privacy are we willing to cede to those entrusted to protect us?” Then we must ask, “How are we, average citizens, to know enough to rationally make the decisions required?” Realistically, we can’t. Too much secrecy and technology is involved.
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The real problem with the failure to pass the North Fork Watershed Protection Act is how it happened. Others can argue over the merits of the legislation, but let’s take a look at how the sausage was made. Or, in this case, not made.

Both Montana Sen. John Walsh and Rep. Steve Daines, who is challenging Walsh in the forthcoming U.S. Senate election, appeared eager to pass this bill and lay claim to protecting an area that conservation groups and energy companies alike agree should be off limits to new mineral development. To be clear, this is a rather noncontroversial bill. In a letter, ConocoPhillips’ vice president expressed support for the added protections.
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For more than 60 years, the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association (MOGA) has served as an important voice for the outfitting industry and as a key partner in decisions that effect the management of public land and wildlife resources. We are proud to represent more than 200 member businesses across the state that offer a variety of outfitting and guiding services. Together, these businesses play a vital role in Montana’s tourism economy and help maintain the culture and traditions of ethical sportsmanship.

We see the preservation and protection of critical landscapes and outdoor traditions as extremely important to all user groups. These landscapes and the wildlife habitat they provide are not only critical to our industry but to the very fabric of who we are as Montanans. We recognize that these special places remain with us today because of the hard work and vision of the many people who have come before us.
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Most likely you've heard the saying "A poor artisan blames their tools."

Despite the ROI of blame being zero (at best), this situation goes well beyond blame.
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Kellyn Brown
Kellyn Brown21h
@kellynbrown
I spent an afternoon in the park with a really cool kid named Jacob for this story on autism awareness. http://t.co/9UNSqZSfWV
Dillon Tabish
Dillon Tabish2h
@djtabish
Big happy birthday to @kellynjbrown!
Molly Priddy
Molly Priddy19h
@mollypriddy
@Lubchansky Where are you on this pain scale? http://t.co/U2MDitEdpl
Tristan Scott
Tristan Scott19 Apr
@tristanscott
The Replacements just played with Billy Joe accompaniment! And played an encore! #Coachella2014
Flathead Beacon
FB Headlines3h
@flatheadbeacon
Tourist Season Is Coming. Are You Ready? http://t.co/PcIWeEhx79