We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, July 4. 2016
First The Campbell Apartment, and now Pine Butte.
The 10,000-acre Pine Butte guest ranch in Montana's Rocky Mtn. foothills has been a favorite remote getaway for the Bird Dog family for many years. It's right on the edge of "the Bob" wilderness and south of Glacier. It is is a Grizzly preserve. Famous Ear Mountain is out the window.
My lad even spent a summer doing ranch work there, and got trapped in the outhouse by a bear who presumably did not wish to shit in the woods.
Horseback in the mountains, fossil-hunting on the prairie, hiking, bird watching, fishing in the mountain streams and lakes, rib-sticking home cookin, and steaks and campfires and pine logs sizzling in the cabin fireplaces. Also, gallons of Sun Tea. Whiskey and cigars as the sun sets. God's country. Many other such places, but this was what we liked.
For huddled Easterners, big sky in June is a dramatic revelation of Creation. There is a fine book, too. Ear Mountain figures prominently in it.
I understand why they decided to shut it down to the public. However, trust me, they will keep this special place open for major donors to the Nature Conservancy. I would have loved to take some grandkids there. It is America at its finest and wildest where antelope play, with crazy horses and real cowboys. I love it, but cannot be a Major Donor to The Nature Conservancy. I did not go into Wall St. finance despite several gracious invitations to do so. Had to follow my own path.
Sometimes I wonder whether I am oversensitive to loss. Probably I am, somewhat. I do have lots of pictures of that land with us on horses, somewhere.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:46 | Comments (14) | Trackbacks (0)
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In the 80's I worked on a ranch south of there, on the Dearborn River. Beautiful country. And yes the donors will be accomodated.
I can't blame them. They are a private organization and the costs, especially in terms of issues of liability and access, are sky rocketing. As are the headaches.
I work as a contractor for a private organization, which as part of its mission allows public access (and is legally bound to do so), that public access costs more and causes more headaches (including court cases) than any other piece of the operation.
Or to be blunt. Quite frankly, the general public is ill behaved, entitled, endowed with lawyers, has no common sense, will destroy any and all equipment, and leaves their trash all over the place.
Well, the people at Pine Butte were not like that.
Wilderness-lovers, and Nature Conservancy folks. Rugged. Not tourists.
Legal liabilities are probably the main culprit. They're taking chain saws to the lovely gnarly salt sculpted trees at a fine state park we frequent in Florida so nobody gets hit with a falling limb. Keeps it open to the public, you know.
But, unfortunately....that isn't the general public that creates the liability and insurance rules the non-profits have to abide by. It is the general public that our maintenance crew will be picking up after following a holiday. The most effective way to clean the toilets is a fire hose, and it all goes downhill from there.
All the visitors may have been perfect, but the insurance bill is not going to take that into account, nor are the health department regs, nor the ADA regs, nor OSHA, nor any of the others.
Any idea why attempts to link your stuff to my Facebook line always fail?
You're right. We had a small dude side to operations to make a little money. Regs and insurance were just starting to appear. Fortunately for me my job entailed having very little to do with that side.
There has always been an argument of what is the proper nature of public lands. This argument has never been resolved and things kind of had a live and let live solution up until the 80's- 90's. Then came the lawyers and insurance, but in a sense it was bound to happen.
Unfortunately, a lot of Montana land is being scooped up by private parties and no longer available for hunting, fishing, hiking, looking at. Take the Wilkes brothers buying up thousands of acres in the Snowy Mts. south of Lewistown.
Central Montana is a beautiful area of the state. Several "island" mountain chains, lots more water than the rest of the state and Spring Creek, a world class trout stream offering uncrowded fishing as compared to say the Boulder and other more well known streams.
Same disappointment with The Nature Conservancy out here in Puget Sound (Or, in Progressive Speak, the Salish Sea.)
Dabob Bay is a unique place to kayak. But it's difficult to put in there. No public access and the landowners are jealous of their "ownership" of the bay and estuary...
I found a county outdoor activity map that showed a new public launch site. Perfect location. A couple of weeks later we took our boats up there and found a TNC plaque at the designated spot.
Totally unimproved it was a delightful piece of property. Overgrown, and seemingly abandoned orchard and garden. Beautiful gentle beach with similarly neglected small boats pulled up above the tide line... There were two old buildings, also in decay; vine covered and the like. The road to the clearing by the beach was only a barely discernible two-track.
Out of the seemingly abandoned house came a very old gentleman, seemed to be of Japanese ancestry. Obviously addled, but very friendly and welcoming. We thanked him for making the public access available and went on our way.
When we returned late in the day, putting the kayaks back on their racks, a middle aged man appeared walking in from the road. Very officiously he wanted to know what we were doing there. We told him, and mentioned our conversation with Mr ... who we took to be the owner. And inquired why any of this was his business.
He said that this was private property now. And that the Nature Conservancy designation was only for the use of the residents of that strip of accessible beach. Maybe 20 houses... I called BS on that but, in consideration of my partner and general decorum, didn't escalate the argument, just finished securing the boats and got on our way.
Back home I did some research, which surprisingly to me, being a Nature Conservancy advocate at that time, supported the officious neighbor's claim.
The natural resources dept that was responsible for giving the erroneous "public access" info to Jeff County had to retract that and the outdoor activity map redrawn without that site shown...
In conversation with folks involved in all this, over a period of weeks, many gov't officials and agents of TNC were not forthcoming and told me they'd "get back to me." Age old bureaucratic delaying tactics... But I persisted and the changes I described above resulted.
But I was able to get some "off the record" comments from disenchanted "little folks" in the both bureaucracies that told a similar story to this Pine Butte post.
The gist of what they told me was that the neighbors got together and convinced this demented old man to donate his land, to save it for posterity (It turned out his family were original settlers...)
But their true purpose was to ensure it wasn't sold and developed or what not. They'd taken advantage of the property's beautiful beach and access over the years. Many of their frontages didn't have anywhere near that easy an access. And they had used his place like it was their community beach.
By putting it under TNC control they effectively privatized that beach for perpetuity. At no cost and tax free.
The entire thing just depressed and sickened me. It seemed so out of character for the folks I'd known all my life here. But, maybe I'm just getting old. And been under a rock...
The Nature Conservancy has been hijacked too by the elites in the Man-made Global Warming Cabal. IMO
I was a big fan of The Sierra Club and the same thing happened to that group also.