Big Sky Weekly
Big Sky’s Locally Owned & Published Newspaper - distributed virtually everywhere
September 9, 2011 Volume 2 // Issue #17
SEASON PASSES ON SALE NOW PHOTO BY MIKE COIL
Exclusive interview with Keb’ Mo
LPHS SPORTS First touchdown ever
CANDIDATE: DAVE STROHMAIER Wildfires: More than 50,000 acres burning across Montana
explorebigsky.com September 9, 2011 1
PUBLISHER OF THE BIG SKY WEEKLY
Big Sky Weekly explorebigsky
2011 BIG SKY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR SEPTEMBER 9, 2011 VOLUME 2, ISSUE 17 CEO, PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Eric Ladd COO & SENIOR EDITOR Megan Paulson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mike Martins MANAGING EDITOR Emily Stifler GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kelsey Dzintars EDITOR Abbie Digel EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Taylor Anderson SALES DIRECTOR Frank Jordan DISTRIBUTION DIRECTOR Danielle Chamberlain
Featured distribution point of the week We strive to create content that both locals and visitors can enjoy. Next time you pass by the Conoco, stop by and say hi, then on your way out pick up a Big Sky Weekly.
The Conoco Big Sky Travel Shoppe is one of the Weekly’s key distribution points and goes through hundreds of papers every issue. Many people driving through the canyon stop there for a tasty lunch, to refuel, and to grab useful information for their journey around Southwest Montana.
- Danielle Chamberlain, Distribution Director
VIDEOGRAPHER Brian Niles
Big Sky’s Tipping Point
INTERN Kaela Schommer
Author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell coined the phrase “The Tipping Point” in his 2000 debut book of the same name that studied a phenomenon where a series of small events can cause a chain reaction producing large results.
CONTRIBUTORS Kasey Anderson, Lisa Beczkiewicz, Crystal Images, Mike Coil, Chad Jones, Chris Kamman, Fletcher Keyes, Rene Kraus, Jamie Daugaard, Ken Lancey, Cameron Lord, Amber Lowery, Katie Morrison, , Anna Middleton, Christopher Nelson, Brandon Niles, Stasia Owen, Kaela Schommer, Adina Smith, Deb Courson Smith and Ann Vinciguerra
Outlaw Partners LLC is the sole owner of the Big Sky Weekly. No part of this publication may be reprinted without written permission from the publisher. The Big Sky Weekly reserves the right to edit all submitted material for content, corrections or length. Printed material reflects the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the opinion of Outlaw Partners or the editors of this publication. No advertisements, columns, letters to the editor or other information will be published that contain discrimination based on sex, age, race, religion, creed, nationality, sexual preference, or are in bad taste.
Distributed every other Friday in towns across Southwest Montana, including Big Sky, Bozeman, West Yellowstone, Three Forks , Ennis, Dillon, Gardiner and Livingston.
ADVERTISING DEADLINE FOR SEPTEMBER 23 ISSUE: September 16 CORRECTIONS The Big Sky Weekly runs corrections to errors we’ve printed. Please report them to emily@ theoutlawpartners.com © 2011 The Big Sky Weekly Unauthorized reproduction prohibited
In the past five weeks, we may have witnessed the start of a tipping point for Big Sky. During these trying times, residents and neighbors pulled together to put on a series of amazing events. The Professional Bull Riding event, the Keb’ Mo concert and Spruce Moose festival, the debut of Lone Peak’s six-man football team, and a passage of two Parks Districts have helped rally morale and business in Big Sky. One local group was so inspired that they’ve started planning a multi-day music festival for next summer. Headliners and details are yet to be announced, but this festival LETTER TO THE EDITOR PARAMETERS This is a platform for readers to express views and share ways they would like to effect change. The Weekly will run letters, positive or negative, of 250 words or less that are respectful, ethical, state accurate facts and figures, and are proofread for grammar and content. We reserve the right to edit letters. Please include: first and last name, address, phone number and title. Send letters to email@example.com.
OUTLAW PARTNERS & THE BIG SKY WEEKLY P.O. Box 160250, Big Sky, MT 59716 explorebigsky.com (406) 995-2055 firstname.lastname@example.org
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should prove be one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest, right in line with Sasquatch, Bumbershoot and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Big Sky has experienced a few other defining moments in its brief history: early homesteading by settlers, Chet Huntley’s vision of what’s become the Biggest Skiing in America, the opening of Moonlight Basin and the Yellowstone Club. Let’s continue using this past summer as tipping point to create more momentum, more events, more business, more success! Let’s stick together. Eric Ladd (406) 570-0639 email@example.com
TABLE OF CONTENTS COMMUNITY...4
BIG SKY XC...39
HEALTH & WELLNESS...19
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Big Sky Weekly
Becoming bear aware
Big Sky residents and organizations working to prevent bear-human interactions BY KATIE MORRISON There has been an increasing awareness of bears in our community in the past few years following several human-bear conflicts in the area. As summer winds down and temperatures cool, animals are on the move. This is the time to continue being conscious of bears in our neighborhoods. With reports of bears breaking into houses and vehicles during the summer and fall of 2010, many new efforts were instigated to address these concerns, with great results. One of the most common attractants for bears in residential areas is trash. I was recently on my way home on a Friday evening to find a vacation rental neighbor putting trash out. I stopped by to politely request that they wait until Monday to put out their trash, notifying them of our bear concerns. During the few minutes I was there, two other neighbors also came by to make sure they were not going to be leaving their trash out for the weekend. This impromptu “neighborhood watch” made me feel comfortable that the residents in my immediate area are not leaving out trash, bird feeders or greasy BBQ’s. Bears are habituated to look for such attractants and still walk down our street in search of an easy dinner.
Addressing trash in a wildlife responsible manner is the first step in reducing potential conflicts. The Big Sky Community Corporation has recently partnered with Bozeman Audi and Montana Import Group to handle trash removal for the parks and trails, while also educating the public. Bozeman Audi and Montana Import Group have provided funding for a wildlife resistant trash enclosure at the recently renovated Big Sky Community Park, which is the transfer station for all of the BSCC’s park and trail trash receptacles. They have also provided signage for each of the trash receptacles that asks users to do their part through proper trash disposal. The Big Sky Owner’s Association and Alpine Property Management have also initiated a new program through Allied Waste this summer using bear resistant trash cans for scheduled pickup. According to Mary Jane McGarity, executive director of the BSOA, the program has been very successful and eliminated problems in typical hot spots thus far. However, she noted, “The true test will be how they work during the fall when the problems have historically increased.“ Using a different strategy, the Yellowstone Club is in the final stages of
Big Sky Fire donates fire engine to the Montana State Fire Service Training School BY EMILY STIFLER Big Sky Fire’s 1973 Pierce engine still runs and operates well, but it’s outdated, and no longer meets national firefighting standards. It is, however, well suited for its next life. The department donated the old engine, complete with hoses and tools, to the Montana State Fire Service Training School. “It has an open cab, which means if you’re sitting in the back, you’re literally sitting outside the truck,” said Interim Fire Chief Seth Barker. The school will use it for training in Firefighter 1 and 2 courses, where students will practice pulling the hose off the truck and pumping. “It’s a perfect application for them,” Barker said. Also, because the engine was old, it wasn’t feasible they’d be able to sell it.
constructing a new trash center for YC homeowners. This facility will include a 24-cubic-yard trash compactor and updated recycling services. The containers will be inside a building to protect against the elements; as well as from rodents, insects, and wildlife. A five-acre area includes the trash center and the receiving center, and will be protected by an electric wildlife fence recommended by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.
For more information: • Bear tested trash cans: Allied Waste (406) 586-0606 • Bear Smart Community: bearsmart.com • Big Sky Natural Resource Council: bigskynrc.org • Keystone Conservation: keystoneconservation.us
“The fence also trains the animal to not come back BSCC bear safe trash can which solves the and to create a community bear problem long committee to collaboratively find term,” explained Rich Chandler, YC solutions such as the previous trash environmental manager. removal examples. These are the first of several steps in becoming a To determine the severity of the “BearSmart” community, which is human-bear conflict issue within Big an international program designed to Sky, the Big Sky Natural Resource help areas such as Big Sky deal with Council is currently pursuing fundhuman-bear conflicts. ing to conduct a hazard assessment
Big Sky Fire Run Report CPR and First Aid classes are offered at Station 1 as needed. Please call 995-2100 for information or to schedule a class. 8/27 – 12:13-15:10 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received ALS care and transport to BDH.
The state-run school is an authority for teaching entry level firefighter courses. They’ve taught many courses at the Big Sky station – building construction, fire operations, leadership training, and urban wild land interface training, to name a few.
8/27 – 15:59-18:30 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received ALS care and transport to BDH.
“They’ve also trained a great deal of our membership, and their funding is limited, so we thought it would be a good time to kick back,” Barker said.
8/28 – 13:37-16:50 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received ALS care and transport to BDH.
“We are very happy to receive the Fire Engine,” said Butch Weedon, Montana Fire Services Training School Director. “It will be valuable in providing realistic training for Montana’s Firefighters, and we thank Chief Barker, his members, and the Board of Trustees for this valuable gift.”
8/28 – 21:30-22:45 – Fire and EMS personnel responded to a Motor Vehicle Crash. One patient received BLS assessment and refused all care and transport.
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8/28 – 09:50-09:55 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received BLS and refused transport. 8/28 – 12:35-12:45 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received BLS care and refused transport.
8/28 – 16:50-20:30 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received BLS care and transport to BDH.
8/30 – 22:01-22:40 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received BLS care and refused transport. 9/1 – 07:17-08:09 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received BLS care and refused transport. 9/1 – 14:56-17:50 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received ALS care and transport to BDH.
Big Sky Weekly
Fires burning throughout Montana forests Many are let to burn for forest health and resource benefit BY EMILY STIFLER As of Sept. 6, there were 20 fires burning across Montana, ranging from a half acre, to the largest at 52,000 acres in the Custer National Forest. The big winter and late spring has acted as a doubleedged sword, said Seth Barker, Big Sky’s Interim Fire Chief. “More water means more vegetation growth, which, when it dries out in the fall, means more fuel load.” Open burning was closed in late August but is now permitted in much of Gallatin County; Big Sky, Ray, Sourdough, Gallatin Gateway, Central Valley (Belgrade), West Yellowstone, and the Gallatin National Forest were all open to burning as of press time. With recent rains, dropping temperatures, fewer thunderstorms, and higher humidity, wildfires aren’t quite as much of a concern as earlier this season, Barker said, which is why they’ve lifted the burn ban. The fire danger rating remains very high in the district, the National Forest, and in Yellowstone National Park. “Be careful burning outside and don’t burn in the next couple weeks unless you absolutely have to,” Barker said. He wants Big Sky residents to know they can contact Big Sky Fire if they’d like a free urban wildland interface assessment.
GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST The Gallatin National Forest has had a total of 15 lighting-caused fires and five human-caused fires this year, which have burned 612 acres. The fire danger rating is high in the forest. Ten miles east of Gardiner, in Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, the 600-acre Bull Fire is the largest burning in the Gallatin National Forest. This fire is being managed for resource benefit, said Forest Service spokesperson Marna Daley. That “means it’s being monitored but is being let to play its natural role in the wilderness area and isn’t being suppressed,” Daley said. “At this point it’s just cleaning up dead and down materials.” The Forest Service has a plan in place in case it becomes a threat to property or resources. North of West Yellowstone, the one-acre Red Mountain Fire in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness is also being managed for resource benefit. There have been recent lighting starts on Livingston Peak and in the Crazy Mountains, both of which were put out. “With the predicted continued warm weather we really want people to be careful,” Daley said. “We’re getting to the point where it’ll be more difficult to catch these fires.” Daly encourages safety with campfires and to avoid driving through tall grass in any type of vehicle. “When the muffler heats up, if you’ve been driving for awhile it can ignite grass and cause fire,” she said. Chainsaws should have spark arresters, and anyone chainsawing should bring a bucket and a shovel to put out a spark-caused flame, she said.
Aerial view of Red Mountain fire
BEAVERHEAD-DEERLODGE NATIONAL FOREST Four resource benefit fires were burning in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest as of Sept. 7, adding up to more than 3,500 acres. Fire danger in this area is rated high. Two fires are burning near Phillipsburg, in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness. The 1,550-acre Lutz fire, and the 670-acre Copper Mountain Fire. Eight miles east of Wisdom, in the Pioneer Mountains, the Stewart fire is burning 1600 acres and is growing quickly. An emergency area closure was in effect on Sept. 7. The 40-acre Whitetail Peak Fire, eight miles northeast of Butte, is burning in a rocky area and has been growing slowly.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST
The Gibbon fire, burning three miles southeast of Madison Junction, has seen little new fire activity and remains estimated at 16-18 acres. Three other fires, the Ouzel, Huckleberry and Pitchstone, are all one acre or less in size. They are being managed as resource benefit fires “to allow natural processes to occur to enhance the area’s natural resources, to protect people and property, and to effectively use available firefighting resources,” according to a press release. The Sour Fire, which was burning east of Canyon Village, and the Heart Fire, which was burning north of Heart Lake, were declared out at 1/10th of an acre, Sept. 4 and 6, respectively.
The forest has red flag warnings due to the low humidity and high winds forecast for the next week, according to Leona Rodreick, a public affairs officer for the forest.
FALL PRESCRIBED BURNING ON THE YELLOWSTONE RANGER DISTRICT
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
The fire and fuels managers of the Gallatin National Forest are planning a controlled burn south of Big Timber, in mid to late September. The 3,200-acre unit is located in Boone’s Peak area of the East Boulder drainage.
As of Sept. 6 five lightning caused wildland fires, managed as the Heart Complex, were burning in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. Other than limited temporary closures of some backcountry campsites and hiking trails, all park entrances, roads and services are open. The fire danger rating in Yellowstone is currently very high, and the Park is encouraging visitors to be careful with campfires, grills, camp stoves and smoking materials. There have been 18 fires reported in Yellowstone this year. Over Labor Day weekend the Point Fire on the eastern shore of Yellowstone Lake increased to 1,100 acres, driven by steady winds and increasingly drier weather conditions. The fire is burning downed and dead logs with single and group tree torching behavior increasing in the afternoons. As a precautionary measure, the Thorofare Trail was closed from the Nine Mile Trailhead to one mile south of the fire area. Smoke will likely be visible around the eastern edge of the lake and on portions of the East Entrance road.
“We want to take advantage of the moisture we have received this spring and summer to complete this controlled burn,” said Fire Management Officer Todd Opperman. Managers will monitor weather conditions and wait to ignite the controlled burn until conditions are ideal, he added. The burn is a component of the fuels management program on the Gallatin National Forest. It is designed to improve both public and firefighter safety in the event of an unwanted fire ignition and reduce fuel loading. It will meet a multitude of ecological benefits, according to the Forest Service. Some area and road closures may be placed in effect.
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