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Big Sky

Exploring life, land and culture from the heart of the Yellowstone Region

LPHS homecoming Candidate Q+A: Madison County Commission

Photo by matty mccain

Oct.5-18,2012 Volume 3 // Issue No. 20

PEarl Jam Rocks for tester Big Sky Fire asks for community support Business Profile: Rivers, Lakes, Oceans Montana-Canada tourism-trade mission

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Business of the Year Oct. 5-18, 2012 Volume 3, Issue no. 20 PUBLISHER Eric Ladd COO & SENIOR EDITOR Megan Paulson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mike Martins VIDEO director Brian Niles MANAGING EDITOR Emily Stifler

Sunset in downtown Bozeman on Oct. 1. Main Street, Bozeman has been named one of "10 Great Streets for 2012" under the Great Places in America program. Photo by Jason Thompson

EDITOR Joseph T. O'Connor

2,500 miles


It’s been quite a commute.

videographer Chris Davis

And then came September. Emily and I got married, I accepted Outlaw’s offer for the editor position, and we packed our things and drove to Montana.

The morning sun flickered through Gallatin Canyon, casting long shadows on the gneiss walls and shimmering on the river's surface. I was driving the Subaru, a dump truck in front and one behind, on Highway 191, the last leg of our 2,500-mile drive from Boston to Big Sky.

Operations director Katie Morrison WEB Developer/Designer Sean Weas distribution director/Staff Writer Tyler Allen CONTRIBUTors

Jamie Balke, Buscrat, Mike Coil, Renae Counter, Maren Dunn, Matty McCain, Jess McGlothlin, Anna Middleton, Brandon Niles, Jason Thompson, David Tucker

Editorial Policy

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.

Letter to the Editor Parameters The Weekly accepts letters to the editor to give readers a platform to express their views and share ways they would like to effect change. These should not be Thank You notes. Letters should be 250 words or less, respectful, ethical, state accurate facts and figures, and proofread for grammar and content. We reserve the right to edit letters. Include: first and last name, address, phone number and title. Submit to:

In August, Big Sky Weekly managing editor Emily Stifler called to interview me as an introduction to the paper’s readers. It was the first time I’d been on the other side of an interview. I told her I wanted to be a player who can help strengthen the community, and that I wanted to hit the ground running.

I was excited. Ever since my wife Emily and I left Lake Tahoe for Boston two years ago, I’ve missed the mountains. I missed the snow and the fishing and the quiet. We both missed the people. Boston is a fantastic city, and I will never forget the friends we made and the skills I honed in my journalism classes there. But, I told myself, if ever a job came along, one that offered me a chance to write and one that let us live back in the mountains, I would take it.

My first day on the job was Monday Oct. 1. I write these words on Wednesday, and we’re going to press. I’m sprinting. And I’m loving it. It’s been quite a commute. – Joseph T. O’Connor

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CORRECTIONS The Big Sky Weekly runs corrections to errors we’ve printed. Please report them to © 2012 The Big Sky Weekly Unauthorized reproduction prohibited

2 Oct. 5-18, 2012

OUTLAW PARTNERS & THE BIG SKY WEEKLY P.O. Box 160250, Big Sky, MT 59716 (406) 995-2055

Table of Contents Community...4 Local News...6 Regional..11 Montana...14 Sports...17 Outdoors...20 Health...22

Business...23 Business Profile...24 Classifieds...25 Events...26 Fun...29 Column...30 Back 40...32


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community Big Sky Community Library annual meeting is Oct. 17 BIG SKY – October will mark the 13th anniversary of the Big Sky Community Library and begin a new fiscal year for the Friends of the Library. Big Sky Resort Tax provides 83 percent of the funding for the library, while the FOL provides hundreds of hours of volunteer service and is responsible for raising the balance of the budget. The FOL annual meeting is Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. in the library. This is an opportunity to meet new community members, find out what the FOL has accomplished this year and what you can do to get involved. During October, the FOL also kicks off its annual membership drive and encourages community members to join. FOL memberships are renewed yearly and renewal cards will be arriving in the mail this month. To become a new member, pick up a membership form at the library or visit Hours: Sunday 1-5 p.m., Monday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 4-8 p.m.

Letter: Big Sky Fire Department are local heroes

Once again, our heroes came through with shining colors. On Sunday, Sept. 16, a bolt of lighting struck a tree on Towering Pines road off of Beaver Creek Road. A local resident called in the “plume” of smoke he saw from his home. Thirteen minutes later – yes only 13 minutes – Chief William Farhat, Captain Seth Barker, Captain Dan Sheil and firefighter Mark Loomis arrived on the scene with a pumper and a water tender. After extinguishing two trees and two stumps with water, they covered the area with chemical foam and dug a trench around the total area. The area was secured in an hour and a half. With no rain for so long, the area was very dry and the lighting struck only one tree away from dense growth. We were very lucky. Many thanks to the ones we sometimes have to count on. They did a super job.


- Mike Brown


ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!! Thanks for your Support!


No Cover

story and photo By renae counter

big sky weekly contributor

BIG SKY – Two Ophir School classes paired up with the Gallatin County Noxious Weed Committee this September to identify, map and contain weeds. Nancy Sheil’s Environmental Science class used the new GPS units to map noxious weeds along trails and roads in Porcupine Creek. The class of 10th12th graders was spilt into four groups and led by Sheil, Jennifer Mohler, coordinator of Gallatin/Big Sky Noxious Weed Committee, Mike Jones of Gallatin County Weed District, and Shantell Frame-Martin of the Montana Department of Aquiculture. “Nancy’s class will map this area this year, and next year the new class will come out and map and be able to see the difference,” Mohler said. “They’ll see if the treatment helped. Was the area cured or did new weeds spread?” This is the first year Ophir School has offered environmental science. “It’s great to be able to go out into the field for this class,” said sophomore Gabrielle Gasser. “We’ve also gone to Yellowstone to learn about fire ecology.”

Mohler, and Big Sky Community Corp. Executive Director Jessie Neal led the groups. This is the fifth year that the second graders have mapped weeds in the Big Sky area.

“Every year my class visits local areas like Red Cliffs or Moose Flats to map and learn about noxious weeds,” Ellis said. Information collected will be given to the Big Sky Community Corp., which will turn the information into maps for use at both the park and classroom. “The school will get a copy of the map, and we’ll do activities back in the classroom, things like math equations to figure out which weed was most abundant,” Ellis said. Later on down the road, Mohler hopes the second graders will be able to take what they learned into the Environmental Science class as well as their everyday lives. “They’ll grow up and be able to take what they learned to Nancy’s class, bringing them into the next level of learning and understanding of noxious weeds,” Mohler said.

Got Noxious Weeds? 

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4 Oct. 5-18, 2012

Ophir School classes map noxious weeds in Big Sky

The noxious weed committee will use the information collected from the class’s Porcupine Creek trip to assess and treat the area. Brittany Ellis’ second grade class also mapped noxious weeds in the Big Sky Community Park with the help of GCWC. Ellis, Frame-Martin,


Big Sky Weekly

We can help!  The Gallatin/Big Sky Noxious Weed Committee offers free onsite assistance, including identifying weeds on your property & recommending treatment methods. For assistance, contact Jennifer Mohler at  406‐209‐0905 or,   and visit   

Help protect wildlife habitat, water   resources, & native plants by   controlling noxious weeds!


Big Sky Weekly

First ever Big Sky Carnival raises more than $5,000 By barbara rowley BIG SKY – Big Sky businesses and families are passionate supporters of their school and their sports teams. Kathy Tatom and her cohorts at the booster club – Deb House, Kimmie Warga and Kirsten King and others – thought they needed a fall fundraiser that was fun, affordable, and didn't over-tax this super-giving community more than necessary. Their solution, a school carnival, hit the mark on all counts, and by the end of the three hour event on Sept. 22, participants who were giving the event rave reviews had raised more than $5,000 for school athletic expenses. In order to keep expenses down and meet their fundraising goals, Booster Club organizers recruited families and businesses to sponsor carnival booths and activities by setting up and running the booths, and in some cases providing prizes. Many sponsors knew from the get-go exactly what they wanted to do. Mor-

gan Ayres painted faces, hair-stylist Jaci Clack festooned carnival-goers hair with feathers, and the folks at the China Cafe brought buckets of fortune cookies for prizes at their toilet toss booth. The Yellowstone Club brought the carnival games they own, and the people to run them, and took tickets and played games for the entire three hours. Some of the more popular fair activities involved good-hearted pranks more than games: Carnival goers could lay down tickets to send sisters, brothers and teachers to “jail,” force notable school and local characters to kiss Elizabeth Severn-Ericksson’s pig, Eloise, buy confetti filled eggs and silly string with which to ‘decorate’ fellow fair-goers, or have Dr. Jessie Coil bandage their 'shark' bites. Warren Miller Artistic Director and choral music teacher John Zirkle emceed the goings-on, occasionally inspiring dance parties and contests from the main stage.

Interview with Eloise, Volunteer Pig Q: Why did you volunteer to kiss humans for the booster club? A: "Well, in lieu of there being any other pigs in the vicinity, I decided I would give humans a try... and since my sister (Annika) attends the school I decided I should support it." Q: Do you follow sports? A: "I don't care for football since I don't support the material the football is made of, however I do follow volleyball, basketball and soccer." Q: What about when one of the kissers wiped your lips first? Was that offensive? A: "I think Mr. House found the froth around my mouth intimidating."

Photo by Anna Middleton

Traditional carnival food was in abundance. A cake-walk and bake sale organized by Jolene Romney overflowed with frosted confections, and several businesses and families sponsored inflatable activities such as a Velcro Wall, bounce house, slide and obstacle course. A raffle for one of 12 goodie-filled baskets was also a highlight, and carnival goers filled out tickets for a chance at a win, which was announced at the football game following the event. One surprise was how unfamiliar many kids were with a carnival, the Big Sky event being their first ever.

“I can’t believe how many kids came up to me asking, ‘what’s a cake walk?’” Kathy Tatom said. Once the event got underway, however, it wasn’t long before all of the kids got the hang of it, including kids who thought they were a bit too old for such fun and games. “I think a lot of the older kids, and even adults, thought that it was a tiny kid kind of deal, but once we started rolling the middle schoolers and high schoolers were every bit as into it as the preschoolers,” Tatom said.

Photo by Anna Middleton

Q: Did anyone offer to wipe their faces before kissing you? " A: They did not, but I wish they had! I also wish Mr. Middleton had considered some breath mints." Q: In general, are humans good kissers? A: "Well, I could teach them a few things."

Big Sky Fire teaches children fire safety BIG SKY – If you teach children about fire safety, it has a ripple effect, says Big Sky Fire Chief William Farhat.

Farhat hopes to add a wildland fire component this year for the first time, and estimates they’ll reach about 100 kids.

That’s one of the reasons departments across the country go into elementary schools and daycares during Fire Prevention Week every year.

Fire Prevention Week takes place annually Oct. 7 – 13, marking the time period of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

On Oct. 9, firefighters from the Big Sky department will visit Ophir School and Morningstar Learning Center, and do activities with the kids geared toward different grade levels. “The funny thing is – we do this is and it helps the children, and also the families,” Farhat said. “The kids go home and scold their parents about bad practices. If we can teach them at a young age it keeps them safe and also sets the stage for them to be successful adults.”

All codes and fire prevention practices are born out of tragedies, Farhat says. “Pick a code, and someone died or properties were lost. We’re trying to teach good practices, because we’re trying to learn from others’ mistakes. If we can share that with the children from a young age, we’re doing well, we’re gaining ground quickly. Kids not only learn for themselves, they can share it at home and take it into adulthood.” E.S.

Oct. 5-18, 2012 5

local news

Big Sky Weekly

What's in a name?

Dam and Upper Low Dog roads renamed Big Sky Resort Road By emily stifler

big sky weekly managing editor

BIG SKY – The roads at the Big Sky Mountain Village have long had confusing and misleading names, with dispatcher maps mismatched to shipping addresses and street numbers. But that’s all about to change, and it’ll be a boon to public safety. Madison County on Sept. 11 approved renaming Dam Road and Upper Low Dog Road, and by this winter they’ll be known as Big Sky Resort Road. When Big Sky Spur Road this summer became Lone Mountain Trail in the official Gallatin County record book, it freed up the name ‘Big Sky’ for use elsewhere in town. Madison and Gallatin counties wouldn’t allow it previously, because having similar names would have been confusing for 911 dispatch purposes. Perhaps the most important benefit from the name change comes in the form of emergency services. “We have problems responding in that area now because addresses don't match the roads,” said Big Sky Fire Chief William Farhat. “We hope this will make it easier to respond to emergencies and for those who live up there, make it more like normal addressing system. It’s going to be great for us, a great help to public safety.”

Previously the resort’s address was 1 Lone Mountain Trail – an address that didn’t actually exist on the record books. “If you were to ask any UPS driver where 1 Lone Mountain Trail was, they knew, but it wasn’t official,” said Big Sky Resort Brand Manager Glennis Indreland. Giving guests directions to the mountain was confusing, Indreland said, “and you can imagine how it sounds to say, ‘Turn on the Dam Road’.” Upper Low Dog Road, which really had no official name, was also misleading, especially since it was near the residential street, Low Dog Road. Parties involved in the name change include Madison County Planning Department, Madison County GIS, Gallatin County GIS, Big Sky Fire, Boyne, the Big Sky Owners Association, and Madison County Commissioner Jim Hart. The commercial structures in the Mountain Mall, the Yellowstone Conference Center, the Huntley Lodge, the Summit Hotel and the Shoshone Condos are the primary buildings affected by the name change. Residences on Low Dog Road will be unaffected, but will have new street numbers assigned so they match what Gallatin County has iin ts 911 dispatch book.

Gallatin River Cleanup

Above: Eric Becker (left) and Steve Johnson (right) work together to remove a metal culvert from the Gallatin River at the Lava Lake Access. Big Sky's Blue Water Task Force held its second annual Upper Gallatin River Cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 29. Several pickup loads – approximately 25 trash bags – were collected from the river. Below: Steve Johnson removing a metal culvert on the Gallatin River.

6 Oct. 5-18, 2012

Photos by Jess McGlothlin, Fire Girl Photography

local news

A new leader for BSOA By JOSEPH T. O'CONNOR big sky weekly editor

BIG SKY – Suzan Scott has years of experience working for nonprofit organizations and state government offices. Now, she’s bringing this expertise to the Big Sky Owners Association. On Aug. 29, BSOA welcomed Scott as its new executive director then introduced her to the association’s homeowners at its Aug. 31 annual meeting in the Summit Hotel at Big Sky Resort. Scott replaced Mary Jane McGarity, who held the position from 2004 until this past summer. A fifth generation Montanan, Scott hails from Gallatin County but has spent much of the last few years in Helena working in Gov. Schweitzer’s budget office. She has a political science degree from Montana State University, focused on public administration. One could almost say she has been primed for the position with BSOA. With more than 16 years working in both the public and private sectors, she’s been a lobbyist in Salem,

Ore. and the Public Policy Director for Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s Chamber of Commerce, among other things. “I couldn’t be more pleased with this choice,” said Rumsey Young, President of the BSOA Executive Board. “[Suzan’s] experience and knowledge of public policy and nonprofits will support BSOA’s mission to preserve, protect and enhance our member’s property values in Big Sky.” As BSOA Executive Director, Scott is in the driver’s seat, overseeing and budgeting the association’s many responsibilities. These include road signage, trail maintenance and snow removal services, as well as noxious weed management and garbage removal. The BSOA is also involved with community projects including a bear aware campaign as well as a tree pests program, which is working to minimize the impacts of the mountain pine beetle and the Western spruce budworm on local trees.

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local news

Big Sky Weekly

Big Sky Fire Dept. proposes mill levy BIG SKY – At 4:36 p.m. on Aug. 20, two members of the Big Sky Fire Department were dispatched to a medical call at the Yellowstone Park border on Highway 191, 18 miles south of the station. Jason Gras and Matt Kendzorski, a volunteer, responded to the scene, stabilized the patient and transported him via ambulance from the park entrance to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, 75 minutes away. That left firefighter Matt Mohr alone at the Big Sky Fire Station to handle calls.

While Gallatin Valley fire departments have resources to draw on from nearby, Big Sky has only the Yellowstone Club’s department, which takes at least 20 minutes to respond and can only do so if it’s not already on a call. Due to Big Sky’s remoteness, an ambulance call typically lasts three hours. This is a big reason it’s hard for the department to maintain volunteers.

At 6:55 p.m., Mohr received a report of a structure fire on Spruce Cone Drive. He responded in the engine, requesting assistance from volunteer and off-duty BSFD firefighters, and from the Yellowstone Club Fire Department.

“That’s half your day, and we can have two or three at a time during the winter,” Farhat said. “That’s a severe impact on someone’s life, and not one that many people are willing to take that much time.”

Mohr worked to contain the fire as best he could until Dan Sheil and Greg Clark reached the scene, coming from home on overtime to help, along with volunteers Don Loyd and Bart Mitchell.

Big Sky Fire is not alone in its dwindling volunteer numbers. In fact, Farhat says, it’s a national problem due in part to new rules instituted in the late 90s that made it more time consuming to train volunteers.

“It shows how tenuous the system can be,” says Big Sky Fire Chief William Farhat, who says the department doesn’t have the resources it needs. “If it wasn't the house fire, it could very easily have been another medical call.”

Even with these disadvantages, the department reduced its response times in the last year. “We’re getting out the door much faster, and we’re getting to you much faster,” Farhat said.

Farhat recalls another incident this summer when he left the scene of an accident in Gallatin Canyon to respond to a second medical call, where he was the only medical responder for 40 minutes. “It’s a very weak system,” Farhat said. A strained department This summer was a busy one for BSFD, with calls in June and July 88 percent higher than 2011, and in August 54 percent higher. The department last year responded to 500 calls, and Farhat estimates this year it will see 550. This is potentially a major problem, Farhat says, because “volunteer numbers have been dwindling since 1999, and at the same time, our call volume is going through the roof.” The department currently has 10 paid firefighters and 10 volunteers. Two of its regular volunteers resigned in the last month, something Farhat says is a major blow. The department has half as many volunteers as it did five years ago. During the winter season, from

8 Oct. 5-18, 2012

Response Resources Dwindling

Thanksgiving through April 15 when the ski resorts are operating, the call volume is comparable to that of a 10,000-person town like Belgrade, not one of 2,000 like Big Sky, Farhat said.

Lack of long term funding Funding for the fire department comes from a combination of property taxes, Big Sky Resort Tax and ambulance fees. The department received $382,000 for operations from the Big Sky Resort Tax Board this year; another $931,000 came from combined Madison and Gallatin county property taxes; and Farhat is budgeting for another $300,000 from ambulance fees. The property tax portion is less than half of what other comparable departments in the area receive, Farhat said, and makes it the third least funded in Gallatin County for property tax support. While resort tax is designed, in part, to support emergency services such as fire and medical, it isn’t within the power of the resort tax board to make multi-year appropriations. “One resort tax board cannot bind the next,” said RTB Chairman Les Loble. “We cannot say, ‘We’re going to fund [any one organization] for three years.’ We can say, ‘We’ll fund you for this year.’ … That being said, all you have to do is look at history of

Number of  Incidents  

Number of  Volunteers  

Number of  Career   50  











Number of  Members  

big sky weekly managing editor

Number of  Incidents  

By emily stifler






0 1991   1992   1993   1994   1995   1996   1997   1998   1999   2000   2001   2002   2003   2004   2005   2006   2007   2008   2009   2010   2011   2012*  

courtesy of bsfd

appropriations to see that each year the fire department has been funded.”

increased by approximately $122 a year, or just over $10 a month.

At strategic planning sessions this fall, the RTB decided it’s interested in long term planning and plans to hold two community meetings this winter to gather ideas from the community on planning and “the sorts of things the resort tax board should be funding,” Loble said.

“I think in general it was very well received,” said Rotary member Kirk Dige, a real estate broker with ERA Landmark. “With the number of volunteers shrinking, … it’s natural for it to become more of a paid fire department.”

One potential solution would be if the RTB could issue bonds, then it could have money for a large project beyond the scope of year-to-year appropriations. Asking for community support In an effort not to rely so much on resort tax, the department requested a mill levy increase in 2008, but due to poor timing with the economic downturn, voters in the Big Sky Fire District turned it down. “This is not a new problem for Big Sky,” Farhat said. He forecasts $3 million worth of capital repairs or replacements will be needed in the next 15 years, and says the money to cover those expenses simply isn’t there. That, and he’d like to hire five more firefighters to help handle the growing call volume, something that, together with operational cost increase, would be a $485,000 annual increase to the department’s budget. He’s turning to Big Sky residents to ask for help. Farhat presented in front of the Big Sky Rotary on Sept. 26, proposing a property tax increase of roughly 11.27 mills to help cover this cost. Millage rates are based on the taxable value of a home. So, for the 11.27 mill levy increase would mean that a house with a state-assessed market value of $400,000 in the district would have its property taxes

Farhat is also planning community meetings this fall, hoping to talk with as many stakeholders as possible and get a sense if this is something residents of the Big Sky Fire District would support. If so, the proposed mill levy increase could go out to voters in May 2013. Dige acknowledged this is a controversial issue. “Nobody wants to pay more taxes. It’s going to be a tough sell,” he said, noting that the school will also potentially be proposing a mill levy, and that Big Sky property taxes have been higher since the 2009 real estate reappraisal. “Historically, a lot of folks have felt like the tourists are the ones who have the big impact on the Fire Department, so they should pay for the services, which they do … It’s kind of a classic dilemma. Which pocket should it come out of? If you’re going to have a first class resort, you need first class services.” Opinions vary on whether the funding should come from resort tax or property tax, Dige said. “But really what it comes down to, is you pay one way or another, or you don't have the service.” Quite a bit of the funding would come from second homeowners, Farhat says, since they make up 70 percent of Big Sky’s property owners. “I want to emphasize that this is a proposal,” Farhat said about the levy. “If it’s not supported, we’re going to have to change it, and we will.”

local news Big Sky Water and Sewer District increasing mill levy By emily stifler

big sky weekly managing editor

BIG SKY – The Big Sky Water and Sewer District is increasing its mill levy by 26.99 percent this year. That means property taxes will go up for residents of the district. The district has funded many of its infrastructure improvements with general obligation bonds; the voters approved these in 2002 and 2006 to support the new sewer treatment plant, the water tank in Hidden Village, and the water facilities plan improvements

to connect the Mountain and Meadow water systems.

storage ponds, and expanding the golf course irrigation system. Those are fully paid off this year, funded 100 percent by Big Sky Resort Tax. Three bonds for water and two for wastewater remain, totaling $21 million.

The annual debt service for these bonds is paid primarily with money collected from a mill levy assessed on property in the district. A mill is a monetary unit worth one thousandth of a dollar, and mill rates are based on state-assessed property values. At 27.8 mills, this year’s levy will be the highest rate to date.

A 1996 agreement between the resort tax board and the water and sewer district that committed $500,000 annually toward the bond debt service also ends this year. The only multi-year agreement the resort tax board has ever entered, the district used the money to expand its capacity.

The first two bonds in the amount of $5.9 million dollars paid for the filtration treatment plant, lining leaky

MILL RATE   SUMMARY                 Water   Sewer   Combined   Bond   Bond   Bond   Debt   %   Debt   %   Debt   %   YEAR   Payments       Difference   Payments       Difference   Payments   Difference   2004   7.6     -­‐  -­‐  -­‐   31.41     -­‐  -­‐  -­‐   39.01   -­‐  -­‐  -­‐   2005   7.6     0.00%   31.41     0.00%   39.01   0.00%   2006   7.6     0.00%   31.41     0.00%   39.01   0.00%   2007   24.74     225.53%   20.3     -­‐35.37%   45.04   15.46%   2008   16.17     -­‐34.64%   21.52     6.01%   37.69   -­‐16.32%   2009   24.72     52.88%   23.9     11.06%   48.62   29.00%   2010   25.37     2.63%   26.88     12.47%   52.25   7.47%   2011   21.63     -­‐14.74%   21.05     -­‐21.69%   42.68   -­‐18.32%   2012   27.8     28.53%   26.4     25.42%   54.2   26.99%   1.    Final  mill  rates  based  on  no  resort  tax  funding  and  $400,000  from  PIC  Fund  account       Average  WATER  Bond  Debt  Mill  Rates  since  2007  >     23.41       Average  SEWER  Bond  Debt  Mill  Rates  since  2004  >       26.03   This table shows the history of the Big Sky Water and Sewer District’s mill rates since its first levy in 2004.


BSRAD Funding       $0   $200,000   $200,000   $300,000   $32,648   $50,000   $250,000   $0              

Resort tax this year denied the district’s additional $350,000 request, which would have been applied against debt service payments in the amount of $1,431,194, reducing the mills necessary to cover the total debt service for 2013. This is the primary reason for the mill levy increase, said Water and Sewer District Director Ron Edwards. “We’ve made the argument that because we’re a resort community, we

have to build things to accommodate all visitors that come here,” Edwards said. “Visitor influx has impacted how much and what size we have to build our infrastructure, and for that reason we think it’s a reasonable expense for resort tax to help pay for cost to upsize everything.” The district’s financial officer Terrence M. Smith sent a letter to residents in early October, detailing the mill levy increase and explaining that the district will continue to apply for annual resort tax funding. The resort tax board “felt there were other competing needs that were more urgent than the water and sewer district application,” said RTB chairman Les Loble. “The water and sewer district has its own means of funding through mill levies and water and sewer rates. There are a number of other applicants that have no other means of funding except through resort tax.” Property owners in the district will see the increase on their individual county tax bills in mid-October, due Nov. 30 and May 31. None of the money collected through these levies goes toward operations, according to Smith and Edwards. Three of the bonds will be paid in full in 2023, one will be paid off in 2024 and the final one in 2027.

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regional West Yellowstone visitation up this fall By tyler allen

big sky weekly staff writer

WEST YELLOWSTONE – September was a good month in West Yellowstone. After July, it tends to be the second busiest month of the year, and this year’s warm weather and good fall fishing likely helped make it one of the best on record. “There were definitely more people on the streets this September," lots of people were asking at the visitor’s center about rooms,” said Jan Stoddard, Marketing Director for the Chamber of Commerce. Visitation at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center last month “was up 3 percent from last year and last September was our busiest on record,” said GWDC Director John Heine. “Tourism fluctuates so much that to match last year’s numbers and to achieve an increase, we’re overjoyed by that,” Heine said. If the trend continues, the GWDC should have its best October on record, Heine said. “The weather has been great, and the [fall] colors are spectacular this year.” A lot depends on the weekend weather, he added, since this time of year more visitors come from Montana and the surrounding region. The Stagecoach Inn in West was sold out every night in September. “Demand is just as strong in September for seniors as it is for families in July,” said operations manager Mark Rogers. Rogers believes last month’s success was also due to the inn’s smaller rate increase this year, as compared to other hotels in town. “We purposely positioned the rate lower than last year,” Rogers said. “Bookings [last month] were up in town 3.8 percent, but the average throughout the country is up 5.8 percent.” He pointed out that hotel bookings nationwide have also been high all fall, citing Smith Travel Research.

The fishing was quieter than usual in early September, but the Madison River below Quake Lake really heated up mid-month, said Cam Coffin, shop clerk at Blue Ribbon Flies for the last 25 years. “The park was decent fishing last month, and the rest of the area was pretty dang good,” he said. “We may have been as busy as July. We had a lot of bookings just the day before, while people will typically book a month or two in advance.” The word is out that September and October are nice months to visit the park, said Kelly Sanders, owner of Free Heel and Wheel with her business partner Melissa Alder. “There aren’t many people, the fall colors are amazing,” Sanders said. “It’s not too cold yet, and we usually don’t get a lot of moisture in September and October.” Two events - the annual fall cycling tour attended by 450 bicyclists this year that rode from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful and back, as well as the half marathon on Sept. 29 – boosted overall business in town, Sanders said. “We’ve had unseasonably nice fall weather,” said park spokesman Al Nash. “We would expect that to reflect fairly strong September visitation.” The west entrance is by far the busiest and, “for the year we started out slowly, but should expect one of the highest visitations years [in the park] on record,” he added. While the winter months can be pretty lean for businesses in West Yellowstone, the annual Yellowstone nordic festival over Thanksgiving week, plus snowmobiling and snowcoach tours in the park, and heavily discounted accommodations do also draw visitors throughout the season.

Big Sky Weekly

New building for West Yellowstone SAR team WEST YELLOWSTONE – West Yellowstone has a new Search and Rescue cache. Montana’s busiest Search and Rescue teams are based in Gallatin County, and with the completion of the facility in West, each of its three teams now has a home base. Funded through the countywide 1 mill levy specifically for SAR Services, the building’s total cost was $439,389.00. $139,000 came from capital savings within SAR and a $300,000 loan.

Search and Rescue is a volunteer force of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office. It responds to an average of 100 calls per year. “Our community members are very outdoor recreation oriented and value the opportunities this county has to offer,” Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said. “The SAR volunteers have outstanding skills and this facility is part of our responsibility to support their important work.” The building is located at 416 Yellowstone Ave.

Yellowstone seasonal road closures The majority of the park’s roads are open until Nov. 5, when they’re closed in preparation for the winter season. After that date, only the year-round North Entrance Road from Gardiner to Cooke City, through Mammoth Hot Springs, will remain open to auto travel, weather permitting. The road from Tower Junction to a barricade just north of the Chittenden Road turnoff on Dunraven Pass closed for the season on Sept. 22 for construction. Visitors will be able to access Chittenden Road and the Mount Washburn area from Canyon Village to the south, until that section of road closes for the season on Oct. 9. Outside the park, the high-altitude section of the Beartooth Highway (Highway 212) between the junction of Highway 296 and Red Lodge can close unexpectedly depending upon snowfall. The highway officially closes for the season Oct. 9, and travel between Red Lodge and the park’s northeast entrance isn’t possible until it reopens in late May.

Fall weather is unpredictable, and roads may be closed temporarily by snow or other weather conditions with little or no warning. Updated information on park roads is available 24 hours a day by calling (307) 344-2117. Outside the park, you can check Wyoming roads by calling (888) WYO-ROAD or by visiting, or Montana roads at (800) 226-7623 or All lodging and most visitor centers in the park will be closed by the end of October. By the first week of November, most campgrounds will be closed for the season. The Mammoth Hot Springs campground is the only site that remains open all year. Limited lodging and services will be available again when the winter season begins in mid-December. 24hour pay at the pump fuel remains available at all service stations yearround.

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regional Madison County commissioner race Meet the candidates for District 1 by jess mcglothlin

big sky weekly contributor

SHERIDAN – This November, residents of Madison County District 1 will cast their votes in the race for their representing county commissioner. Incumbent Dave Schulz is running against challenger Ken Yecny. Madison County, covering nearly 2.3 million acres, includes the towns of Ennis, Virginia City, Sheridan and Twin Bridges, as well as a chunk of Big Sky. Although the county at large does not elect them, the three commissioners make decisions affecting the entire population.

With approximately 2,700 voters, District 1 makes up a third of the county’s population and covers Sheridan, Alder, the upper Ruby Valley, Virginia City, and extends into the western slope of the Madison Valley, south of Highway 287. While most county commissioners in Montana are elected for six years, Madison County limits its terms to four years. The Madison County Commission meets once a week, for 5 – 7 hours at a time. The commissioners must work well as a team while also working independently in their home districts.





Q & A with the candidates BSW: What are the key issues facing Madison County right now?

BSW: What are your views on property rights?

Dave Schulz: Senior services are key in my mind. Madison County’s average age is rising faster than other counties in the area. We need to make sure we are taking care of area nursing homes and senior facilities. By working with senior groups – four in county at the moment – we can ensure our seniors have healthy meals and those who are housebound are checked in on. Ken Yecny: Simply put, the budget. The county budget has risen 58 percent over the past four years. In 2008-2009, the budget was $20,146, 907. For the years of 2011-2012, the budget is $31, 886, 001. The economy can’t support an increase like this. BSW: How do the Madison and Gallatin County Commissions work together?

Schulz: Property rights are an outstanding priority in my mind and heart. Residents do need to understand that what they do with their property affects others, however.

Schulz: Both commissions meet annually to discuss issues. Regular discussions also take place with resort partners in Big Sky. In Big Sky, public safety is a large issue for us. Our $230,000 commitment this year supports two deputies to help increase public safety. The Madison County Commission has also partnered with Big Sky Transit, though Gallatin County has not, to help increase access. Snow removal and invasive species removal are issues worked by both commissions in the Big Sky area. Yecny: It is important for commissions all around the state to work together on a lot of different fronts. One aspect I’m looking forward to potentially working on with Gallatin County is the threat wolves pose to cattle. Management of dead and dying timber is also high on the list.

Yecny: If it is your own property, it is your personal private property and you should be able to do any damn thing on it. BSW: What are your views on the school board and school issues? Schulz: Countywide, we need to focus on maintaining the school budget as well as school funding. The changing age demographic of the population means schools are showing little or no growth. While the Ophir school district in Big Sky does show growth, the rest of the county’s schools are losing students. We need to adequately fund quality education despite the declining student population. Yecny: I would like more oversight in the school districts. [Last year] the Ennis school district was found to have improperly used taxes levied for public transport and adult education to aid in funding the new elementary school. BSW: Why should the readers of the Big Sky Weekly care about this race? Schulz: Madison County is not easy. We have many different demographics – age, political views, geographical – and many different styles of life. The county comprises diversity, variability and different mindsets. As commissioners, we have to be considerate of each. Using the facts we need to decide what is best and make decisions based on information. Yecny: Three commissioners run the whole county. It’s important that all Montana counties work together.

Build your dream and let the memories begin.


Big Sky Weekly

Montana Tourism-Trade Mission to Canada in October 2012 Buck’s T-4 co-owner to attend By emily stifler

big sky weekly managing editor

HELENA – U.S. Sen. Max Baucus is working to make the most of Montana’s northern border, promoting international business with Canada through a tourism trade mission to Alberta this October. Through the trade mission, David O’Connor, coowner of Buck’s T-4 Lodge in Big Sky, will attend the TravXchange tourism trade shows Oct. 15 and 16 in Edmonton and Calgary. Designed for travel agents, tour operators, resorts and destinations, the shows are centered mostly on business networking, “getting up and getting to know people, starting relationships,” O’Connor said. O’Connor will have a display alongside other Montana companies, where he’ll have a display about Big Sky and Buck’s. “You can’t talk about Bucks without talking about Big Sky,” he said. “You’ve got to sell the community first.” According to O’Connor, partnering with the Baucus trade mission and Brand America, an arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce that promotes tourism as an export, will give Montana businesses a larger presence. “My goal is to increase visibility among travel agents and tourism operators in Canada,” he said.

The show in Edmonton is “the best industry travel and tourism show in Canada,” said Carey Hester, Director of the Montana U.S. Export Assistance Center, who is working with Baucus’s staff to organize a tourism trade mission to Alberta, Canada in October. Trade delegates like O’Connor, there to promote tourist destinations or resorts, will talk with top tourism agencies or tour operators from across Canada, Hester said. “It gives exhibitors the chance to interact one-on-one with tourism agencies in Canada who are arranging trips for travelers.” Baucus, a Democrat, is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The Senator organized a previous trade mission that brought 20 Montanans to Alberta in September 2011. The October 2012 mission is designed to build on relationships and business contacts established during that mission. “Having the Canadian market right next door is a huge opportunity for Montana businesses to expand their customers, grow and create jobs,” said Sen. Baucus. “The best way to make things happen is to go straight to the source, and that’s exactly what Montana businesses are doing on this trip. I’m excited to hear how they turn this opportunity into jobs for Montana.”

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For O’Connor, this trip is as much a fact-finding mission as anything. “I’m very interested in looking at tourism as an export from Montana to Canada,” he said. “I’m going up looking for more individual travelers.” Hester’s U.S. Export Assistance Center in Calgary is also hosting a breakfast roundtable during the trade shows. “The whole purpose of these kinds of mixers is to put our tourist resorts and destinations in contact with as many industry people as possible,” he said. They begin to network and discuss business opportunities, identify potential projects and bring them to fruition.” “There is opportunity in Alberta,” O’Connor said. “The market is close enough to be accessible. They know our mountains and climate, and the exchange rate is good. We just need to learn how to go up there and communicate that.” Including the upcoming trip to Canada, Sen. Baucus has organized eight trade missions for Montanans to 11 countries: Mexico, Cuba, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, India, Brazil, Colombia and Canada. Last May, Baucus brought top-level trade officials from around the world to Montana for the spring APEC meetings in Big Sky.

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Big Sky Weekly


Pearl Jam played at the Adams Center in Missoula on Sept. 30. Photo by Matty McCain

Pearl Jam rocks Missoula Tester benefit concert draws 7,000 big sky weekly editorial staff

MISSOULA – On Sept. 30, rock legends Pearl Jam took the Adams Center at the University of Montana by storm. The concert, which sold out in 15 minutes, was the band’s only non-festival show in the U.S. this year. Put on by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, the show was an effort to create awareness about the race, encourage voting, and raise funds for the

mentary by Ament and lead man Eddie Vedder. At one point, Vedder gave shout-outs to Ament’s parents saying, “If not for you, there would be no Pearl Jam.”

After intermission, the band took time to reverse the stage orientation and played to the crowd located behind the stage, leading a sing along to Wayne Cochran’s cover, “Last Kiss.” The concert was concluded in classic fashion with a strong performance of Neil Young’s, “Rockin’ in the Free World," a song that criticizes former President H.W. Bush’s “thousand points of light” remarks made The band played for nearly three hours for close to 7,000 fans. Photo by Matty McCain during some of his speeches. The crowd showed Pearl Jam its due respect and in reDemocratic senator’s campaign. It drew close to turn received a strong compliment from Vedder: “Best 7,000 fans, who poured into the auditorium and U.S. crowd of the year, Montana!” he shouted. “You heard the band rail for nearly three hours. have given me goose bumps!” Pearl Jam co-founder and legendary bass player Jeff Ament, originally from Big Sandy, was instrumenThe band played until arena staff turning on the house tal in bringing the show to his home state. He grew lights, a gentle hint that it was time to leave, interruptup with Tester in the small town northeast of Great ing the second encore of the night. But Pearl Jam kept Falls, and together they hope the concert will help rocking for several more songs. propel the incumbent senator to victory. Tester took office in 2006, winning by a slim margin. The race this year between Tester and challenger, U.S. Rep. Dennis Rehberg, a Republican, is one of the most watched in the nation. The 29-song show featured rare performances of “Ghost” and “Man of the Hour,” as well as com-

16 Oct. 5-18, 2012

Montana native and Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament was instrumental in bringing the band to Missoula. Photo by Matty McCain

At times the concert seemed more like a fundraiser for Montana than the Senator, as it drew people from around the country to Missoula. The line for merchandise was more than an hour long, and hotels were full. The show was a reprieve from the relentless barrage of campaign ads; for a brief moment in this election year, citizens were focused on the power of the music.

Guitarist Mike McCready Photo by the Outlaw Partners

Big Sky Weekly

Homecoming Spirit Week: Oct. 1-6 Oct. 6, 1 p.m. - LPHS Football vs. Hot Springs Oct. 6, 5 p.m. - LPHS Volleyball vs. Shields Valley


Photos by Mike Coil

Oct. 5-18, 2012 17


Schiano the Bully Tampa Bay coach an embarrassment wanting to risk an injury. This is an act of sportsmanship by both teams. The winning team is choosing not to try and run up the score or rub it in the face of the losing team, and the losing team is choosing to accept defeat and not risk injury to the players.

By Brandon Niles

Big sky weekly sports columnist

In consecutive weeks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has decided to wage war against the kneel-down play, sending his defensive linemen after the opposing quarterback in this position. A legal play in football, this is where the quarterback drops to his knee immediately after receiving the snap, ending the play. The clock keeps running, which is why the kneel-down play is used at the end of the half or at the end of the game in order to prevent a fumble, and to let the clock run out. Often, a team will choose not to risk a turnover at the end of the first half, and will run a kneel-down play. At the end of the game, a team preserving a lead might run one as a means to expedite the end of the game after the score has been decided. In most cases, opposing defenses simply let up during this play, understanding that the game is over and not

But Schiano, in his first year with the Bucs after several years coaching Rutgers, decided to take away this mutual respect by attacking the opposing offense during the kneel-down play, and he has done this with the kind of hubris that one would expect from a person spitting in the face of traditional sportsmanship. While not doing anything technically against NFL rules, Schiano has certainly committed a faux pas in football circles. Most players, coaches and analysts have condemned him for his actions, with only a few people defending him. Schiano has said this is simply his brand of football – a level of toughness and a “try hard till the very end” mentality that sounds fiery and motivating until you remember that player safety is supposed to be a league concern and that he’s fighting a battle no one else cares about. With all the issues that have gone on in the league, and the concussion problems plaguing football players at all levels, Schiano has chosen this

act of graceful sportsmanship as his target? I refuse to believe this is his real goal. The Giants performed a kneel-down to end the half against the Bucs a few weeks ago, and Schiano did not rush the quarterback then. Where was the “try hard until the whistle blows” mentality then? Rather, it seems clear this is just a coach whining about losing and throwing a tantrum. This is an embarrassment to the league, and it’s dangerous for the players. If the league doesn’t step in and stop this, then it’s only a matter of time before a player gets injured. If that does happen, the league office will have a hard time explaining why they let someone in a position of power express his own frustration in such a petty and destructive manner. I would be embarrassed to be a member of the Bucs and to be associated with Greg Schiano. Brandon Niles has done online freelance writing about the NFL since 2007. His articles range from NFL news to team-specific commentary. A Communication Studies graduate student at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Niles is also an avid Miami Dolphins fan, which has led to his becoming an avid Scotch whisky fan over the past decade.







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outdoors Upland game bird season update

Understanding Montana’s block management hunting program

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Most of Montana's upland game bird hunting seasons are underway, but many experienced hunters – and their trusty retrievers and pointers – are hoping for good shooting and cooler days ahead. In most areas of the state, wing-shooters should find fair to good game bird populations and some pockets of very good hunting potential.

More than 1,250 landowners have enrolled nearly 8 million acres in the Montana Block Management Area hunting program this year.

Montana's upland game bird hunting seasons generally run through Jan. 1, 2013. The exception is the sage grouse season, which closes Nov. 1. Montana's pheasant season opens Oct. 6 and runs through New Year's Day. Here's what upland game bird hunters in Region 3 (southwest Montana) can expect this season: • Upland game birds came out of the winter with slightly above average numbers. That's the case with both Hungarian partridge and mountain grouse. Mountain grouse appear to have had good size broods according to area biologists. • Sharp-tailed grouse numbers have remained about the same, but the region isn't a prime area for sharptails. • Sage grouse – found mainly in the Dillon area – are up a bit, and biologists have noted good survival rates through the last winter. • Pheasant numbers are about average thanks to very little winter mortality seen on the whole. Still, there's not a lot of pheasant hunting in the region due to limited habitat. Most pheasant hunting in southwest Montana occurs on private land river bottoms. To learn more about Montana hunting, visit the Fish, Wildlife and Parks website at and click "For Hunters."

• • • •

Formally launched in 1985 and significantly enhanced in 1995, the BMA program gives the public access to hunt on enrolled private lands. More than 440,000 hunter days occur annually in these areas. Here’s how it works: Landowners develop contracts with FWP about how free public hunting may occur on enrolled lands. Every BMA contract is tailored to the specific ranch, and each landowner determines ranch rules specific to his or her property. Enrolled lands remain under the control of the private landowner, while the FWP enforces the rules. Those rules specify how permission will be issued, whether hunter numbers are limited, which game birds or animals may be hunted, when the enrolled property is open to hunting, and what methods of travel may be allowed. In return for enrolling, landowners may receive compensation and/or services to help manage the hunting activities and to offset the impacts of allowing public hunting. Those impacts may include time spent dealing with hunters, increased costs of managing for noxious weeds, increased fire danger, maintaining roads and fences, and additional costs associated with managing livestock.

This sets Montana’s BMA program apart from several other Western states’ hunting access programs, where incentives are often directed toward helping landowners generate revenue from offering certain kinds of hunts – typically for bull elk and deer and antelope bucks. Block management lands include a range of habitat types. Some provide a specific hunting opportunity, like harvested croplands along a river bottom that accommodate waterfowl hunting, or large tracts of prairie grasslands and sagebrush enrolled primarily for antelope hunting. Others are more diverse and have habitat for whitetail deer, pheasants and turkeys, and also marginally for elk, mule deer, sharptailed grouse, and the occasional gray partridge or sage grouse. Most BMAs are open for all legal game species, although some may restrict what can be hunted or when it can be hunted. About half of all block management land statewide is considered Type I BMAs, where the hunter either administers his or her own permission at sign-in boxes, or where no formal permission is required. Typically on large ranches or corporate timberland in western Montana, these usually have no restriction on hunter numbers. The other half are Type II BMAs, where the landowner directly administers permission, and where hunter numbers are often limited and specific hunting areas assigned.







$949,500 • #186436 • Call Eric or Stacy

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2 parcels comprising 20 +/- acres both parcels can be subdivided located between Meadow & Mountain close to Big Sky and Moonlight Resorts

• • • •


$795,000 • #1864381 • Call Eric or Stacy

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$229,000• # 184874 • Call Brooms 580-4290 .6 +/- acres, back to the Gallatin River 4 bd septic installed, 25 GPM well drilled between Bozeman and Big Sky off Hwy 191 a rare opportunity, build dream home here

Big Sky Weekly

• • • •

$220,000 • #186408 • Call Marc

1 bd, 2 ba, 1512 +/- sf 1.07 +/- acre lot wood burning fireplace soaring ceilings, wood timber framing

BEAR CREEK, LOT #68 • • • •

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2.3 +/- acre estate lot adjacent to Bear Creek Spanish Peak Views, trees beautiful home site, well is in

Stuart Koch, Sales Associate, 406.581.1225

outdoors Gear Review: Dakine Overhead roller luggage By emily stifler

big sky weekly managing editor

This is mountain folks’ version of roller luggage. It’s stylish, sturdy, water resistant, and fits in an airline overhead compartment. With 42 liters of capacity, it’s perfect for a weekend getaway. The interior mesh pocket is a good spot for toiletries or other extras, and the exterior organizer pockets fit a water bottle and your documents when traveling. The retractable handle and side carry are sturdy and thoughtfully placed. Available in men’s and women’s colors.

Northern Rockies Avalanche Safety Workshop returns to Whitefish WHITEFISH – Avalanche professionals and winter backcountry enthusiasts will meet on Oct. 13 for the second annual Northern Rockies Avalanche Safety Workshop, from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish. This pre-season avalanche safety workshop is dedicated to improving avalanche related decision-making and skills for winter backcountry users. This year’s speakers have varied experiences, backgrounds and expertise in avalanche forecasting, theory, information processing, emergency decisionmaking and other up-to-date backcountry information. They are: Karl Birkeland Founder of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center in Bozeman, Birkeland has spent the past 30 years working professionally as a ski patroller, educator, backcountry forecaster and researcher.


Big Sky Weekly

Scott Savage Savage has been an avalanche forecaster for Big Sky Resort in Montana, but more recently has toured the country giving lectures and talks analyzing his and other avalanche professionals’

experiences and mistakes. This year he is joining the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center. LeeAnn Allegretto The Avalanche Program Leader for the Missoula National Weather Service, Allegretto is responsible for managing and updating backcountry weather data and forecasts Elyse Saugstad A professional skier from Girdwood, Alaska, Saugstad is a ski film star, competitive freeride skier and accomplished backcountry skier. Christopher Robinson Robinson was deployed as a Navy SEAL in 2003-2004, where he specialized in assignments that dealt with stressful group dynamics and learned decision-making methods to optimize performance and survival. Dale Atkins Atkins has more than 30 years of experience as an avalanche expert as a rescuer, forecaster, researcher and educator working in recreational, industrial and municipal domains. For more information visit


Moonlight Club Founding Memberships Available


membership joining fee

ANNUAL SKI PASSES for members, spouses, and immediate family

DISCOUNTS on Moonlight Basin owned retail and dining facilities

PREMIER GOLF MEMBERSHIP with advance tee-time reservations

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LEGACY PRIVILEGES with membership transfer to family members

EXCLUSIVE MEMBER EVENTS bringing together member families and the Moonlight Community

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Oct. 5-18, 2012 21

health & wellness

Big Sky Weekly

Ask Dr. Dunn By maren dunn

big sky weekly health writer

Since it’s fall, I’m wondering if my family and I should get the flu shot. We had them last year. Is it necessary again this year? The short answer: YES! Influenza is an acute respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses, which causes outbreaks during the winter months. It’s spread through sneezing or coughing, and is shed by its host for two days before symptoms start, and for seven days after that. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, severe malaise, headache, sore throat, runny nose and dry cough. Typical flu sufferers usually improve over two to seven days, while some have continued fatigue and malaise for weeks. In some cases, the illness presents itself abruptly, allowing its sufferer to recall the exact time it started, while others present as a mild common cold. Unfortunately, the illness can become complicated by pneumonia in either the young, the elderly, pregnant or chronically ill. In these cases, the mortality rate rises significantly. Children in school are at high risk of exposure and are also very effective in spreading the virus. They also tend to have more complications, such as ear infections and pneumonia. In fact, studies

show that for every 10 infants six months old or less seen in the office for influenza, one will be hospitalized. This rate decreases with age to 250 to 1 by age 5. Additionally, the death rate in otherwise healthy infants and children with influenza is higher than in adults, especially children younger than 5. Pregnant women are also at high risk for complications from influenza. Research shows they are 5 times more likely to become severely ill, which can result in miscarriage or pre-term delivery. Fortunately, the flu vaccine is safe at any stage of pregnancy. In addition, the antibodies produced by the mother cross the placenta and offer immunity to the baby for their first 6 months of life, at which point babies can have their own flu vaccine. Clearly, this illness can cause a substantial burden to any community it infects, with potentially dangerous results. Each year researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization track the virus and monitor its activity in order to predict the components for the flu vaccine. The vaccine is recommended yearly to keep up with changes the virus undergoes. It’s important to note that immunity from the previous shot wanes before the next season starts.

for people who have contact with babies, kids who are less than 5 years old, elderly or chronically ill people, or women who are pregnant. See your medical provider if you have additional questions about the flu vaccine, or log onto the CDC website at Don’t hesitate to protect yourself, your family and your community from influenza!

Maren Dunn, D.O., is owner of Gallatin Family Medicine, a medical clinic in the Big Sky Meadow Village. Have a question? Email her at inquiries@

All people older than 6 months are recommended to have the flu vaccine. It’s highly recommended

Annual flu shot clinic

Women in Action is holding two flu shot clinics this fall for Big Sky community members. They will be Tuesday, Oct. 9, 4 – 7 p.m. at Gallatin Family Medicine (18 Meadow Village Drive, across from the Post Office), and Tuesday, Oct. 16, 4 – 7 p.m. at the Big Sky Medical Clinic (upstairs in the RJS Building in the Town Center). The clinics are free to anyone, according to WIA director Lisa Beczkiewicz. The nonprofit is requesting recipients with health insurance to bring their cards, so WIA can bill insurance.

22 Oct. 5-18, 2012


Big Sky Weekly

New health professional plans to stick in Big Sky By JOSEPH T. O'CONNOR big sky weekly editor

BIG SKY – In early September, a Big Sky health and wellness spa welcomed to the scene a new acupuncturist, one who plans to stick around. Christina Clark, a native of Bozeman, started at OZssage Therapeutic Massage and Day Spa on Sept. 10, bringing with her an extensive knowledge of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. She is eager to treat patients in Big Sky alongside OZssage owner Jacquie Rager. “Jacquie has such a good reputation and the spa is beautiful,” Clark said of the wellness center located at 32 Market Place in the Meadow Village. Rager, in turn, feels Clark’s unique brand of treatment will bolster OZssage’s ability to be a versatile spa. “Having acupuncture takes our treatment to another level,” Rager said. “The clients who have been going to Christina are definitely very happy with her and her level of expertise.” Clark earned a master’s degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, N.M. and is licensed by the state Board of Medi-

cal Examiners. She has also maintained an acupuncture practice of her own in Bozeman for six years and previously worked at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital as a certified health professional. “Utilizing well-established principals of East Asian medicine, [Clark] is qualified to provide quality health care for a wide range of acute, chronic, physical and emotional conditions, for the entire family,” Rager said. Acupuncture is an ancient practice used to treat everything from migraines and muscle aches, to anxiety and depression. Consistent treatment by one acupuncturist is just as important as the treatment itself, Clark says. “It’s a healing journey that the patient and the practitioner take together. If you’re with the same acupuncture practitioner, you really establish a relationship.” And, she said, remaining with one acupuncturist eliminates the need to tell your story to a number of different practitioners, a weight she doesn’t plan on asking her patients to shoulder. “I’m hoping to be around for a while.”


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Oct. 5-18, 2012 23

business Profile

Big Sky Weekly

Rivers, Lakes, Oceans outfits Latin American paddlers By tyler allen

in Charleston, S.C., where they’re loaded onto large ships. A 17 – 24 day passage takes them through the Panama Canal, and down the West Coast.

big sky weekly staff writer

BOZEMAN, Mont., PUCON, Chile – Rivers, Lakes, Oceans has been supplying Central and South American boaters with quality water gear since spring of 2009. Started by Bozemanite Mike Garcia, Rios, Lagos, Mares – as it’s known in Latin America – imports most of its goods to the world-class boating destinations of Costa Rica and Pucon, Chile. Mike, 59, spent time kayaking in Chile years ago, just as the rivers were becoming well known. “I saw this resource developing and what they were paying for products,” he said. “I said, ‘You guys are really getting dinged.’ It was the same in Costa Rica.” He was already in the business, having founded the Bozeman outdoor store Northern Lights Trading Co. in 1979. When he sold Northern Lights in 2008, it was “the onus to do something down there.” He started in fall 2008, imported his first product to South America in spring 2009, and sent the first large shipment of boats south that summer, just in time for runoff in the Andes.

At the dock in Chile, all the product is immediately assessed a 20 percent value-added tax by the Aduanas, or customs agents.

Paddling on Lago Villarrica in Pucon, Chile. Photo by Mike Garcia

His three sons are all passionate kayakers who’ve gravitated to Chile in recent years, drawn by its wealth of previously un-paddled rivers. The oldest, Ian, 26, has spent the past nine winters in South America and has lived in Pucon for much of the last five years, where he’s an integral part of the business. Having married a Chilean woman, Ian will become a legal citizen this year. Evan Garcia, 23, will be in South America this winter, his sixth season filming for kayak movies and search-

This is how Big Sky gets into hot water.

ing out first descents. Between them, Ian and Evan have more than 50 first descents in South America. Mike’s youngest, Nate, is 21 and has already been south three times; he’s currently attending the University of Montana in Missoula. Chile’s recreation economy is growing, Mike says. He visits the country twice a year, for work and play, and every year he sees more people getting out and recreating. Today, Rivers, Lakes, Oceans imports products from more than 20 U.S. companies to Latin America. It has a warehouse in Costa Rica, and a warehouse and storefront in Pucon. It sells to hotels, outfitters, governments and private boaters – both from the shop in Pucon and over the Internet. Because boating in Chile tends to be cold, the company sells a lot of drysuits and wetsuits. It also sells whitewater kayaks (both play boats and creek boats), ocean kayaks, fishing kayaks, rafts, paddles, oars and boating accessories. Ian works in the Pucon storefront, along with his father during Mike’s typical three-month stay. Mike employs a few locals as well, but says they don’t know the product as well. “We want people to buy the right product for the right purpose.”

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Rivers, Lakes, Oceans does most of its business from October to March. With high water in Chile generally Nov. 1 through March, the Pucon store is busiest during that time of year, as well. However, Mike says, the paddling season there is year round because of the wet climate. Because it takes so much product down at once, Rivers, Lakes, Oceans can offer better pricing, Mike said. Plus, it has the advantage of owning all its own shipping containers, which cuts down the freight rate per unit. The boats and accessories are consolidated into the containers

“A lot of things disappear down there,” Mike said. “The Aduanas may not be trustworthy. We’ve had some goods disappear in Venezuela, and we make the Peruvians carry their own goods over the border. We don’t really have that problem in Chile and Costa Rica.” Locals buy more than 90 percent of Rivers, Lakes, Oceans’ products, with the balance being purchased by Americans and Europeans on vacation. Customers expect to see a U.S. coastguard stamp on all life jackets, Mike said. Mike bought back Northern Lights in July 2010 along with Barrel Mountaineering – which closed September 2011 – and the Barn, which primarily sold boats and accessories until closing this fall. He did so when the interim owner gave five days’ notice before he was going to begin liquidating all three stores. “[That] put a chink in my armor as far as being semi-retired,” Mike said. He’s busy with both companies now, especially since he’s looking for a new location where he can merge Northern Lights and the Barn, which closed its doors Oct. 1. For Rivers, Lakes, Oceans, which started just as the recreation market in Latin America was beginning to blossom, things are looking up. As the emerging economies in Central and South America create a larger middle class with more time and money to recreate, the market should continue to improve, Mike says. And a country that enjoys its natural resources is more likely to conserve them, something that’s important to Mike as an outdoorsman and a business owner in the recreation industry. He cited dam and mining projects in Chile that have been halted by public opposition in the last decade. “[Outdoor recreation] has awoken the Chileans and Argentineans in the Patagonia region as to the precious commodity they have . . . the beauty, the mountains, the water,” Mike said. “It’s paying dividends. Both countries are trying to be better stewards of that resource.”

Classifieds RENTALS ATV'S, Polaris RZR side by sides, RV's, Driftboats & SNOWMOBILES when the snow flies! 406-587-4747 Hill condo studio- $675/mo Top floor, mountain and creek views. Remodeled, clean, walk to lifts. 1 year lease, available now. N/P contact 425-478-1720 $389,000. Call 406-595-6641

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Obsolete Equipment Sale Big Sky School District is selling obsolete equipment. A public sale will be held at the school, 45465 Gallatin Road, on Saturday, October 13 from 10 am – 2 pm. A list of items can be found at All items purchased must be taken at the time of sale. Office desk- Great Condition, like new! HON 10700 Series Oak Right Pedestal Desk Dimensions: 72"L x 36"D x 29.5"H $250 contact 406-9952055


help wanted

for rent

Big Sky Weekly

Shuttle to Big Sky & Taxi Need Some Extra Money This Winter? Come share your passion for the Big Sky area as a Part Time Driver for Shuttle to Big Sky & Taxi. Must be at least 25 yrs. of age with a clean driving record and able to lift 50 lbs. Prior experience preferred but not required. Must past Drug Test & DOT physical exam. PT positions available. Flexible hours Please submit resume to EOE. Or call our office at 406-995-4895 Daily outdoor service routes. Must have clean driving record and auto insurance. Paid mileage. Some plumbing and electrical knowledge preferred. Headwaters Hot Tub 406.995.7319 If you have a desire to build positive encouraging relationships with youth in Big Sky this job may be for you. To assist the established local program at the middle school and high school. Working with students and recruiting new young adult leaders. The ideal person should have experience with Young Life. Please Contact: Anne Chiles (406) 995-4805 Alan Johnson (406) 995-2524

one of a kind antique

Peninsular 414

wood burning stove

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Looking for a good home! Hello, my name is Katie and I am a young collie, Shepard mix, or at least that is what I think. I am Less than a year old but have already had a very hard life. I am currently in Stillwater, OK where I was abused until I was picked up by Stillwater animal welfare. I am very sweet, but there is not much room in the shelters here and so I was scheduled to be euthanized. Lucky for me a soft hearted veterinary student picked me up and I am living the big life. With four dogs here, however, I am trying to find a forever home. I am small, only about 25lbs but I hope to grow bigger and stronger from living an adventurous life. There is not much I don't love... I am quite the snuggler, love kids, think mountain biking and hiking are amazing and I love my people. I can relocate to Montana in a second. I will make an amazing companion and member of your family. You can call me at 360-393-2992

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EVENTS Butte Bouldering Bash is Oct. 13

Lone Peak Brewery celebrates five years in Big Sky By tyler allen

big sky weekly staff writer

BIG SKY – The Lone Peak Brewery is celebrating its fifth year pouring pints in Big Sky this October. On Saturday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. the brewery will host a party culminating a week-long celebration at its tap house in the Meadow Village. Opened in 2007 by Steve and Vicky Nordahl, the brewery has appealed to a broad clientele in the last five years. “We get constant recognition for all the hard work we do, and [for] being a place where both locals and tourists like to go,” Steve said. “We get a fairly tremendous mix of both.”

Josh Hood climbs the Arete on the Central Highball Boulder at the Trailer Boulders, with Zanna Drobnik, Adam Fruh and Rose Marks spotting. Photo by Emily Stifler

PIPESTONE – The third annual Butte Bouldering Bash will be held at the Trailer Boulders, a new climbing area north of Interstate-90 and west of Whitehall. Climbers have been developing this area for the last couple of years, and it now has a variety of excellent boulder problems ranging from V0 to V10.

There will be a fun bouldering competition, a prize raffle, shoe demos, food, drinks and music. Organizers Tom Kingsbury and Patrick Odenbeck will release a guidebook to the area during the event. The following day there will be a clean up for the camping and bouldering areas. For more information visit

It ’s n ot to o la te !

cklist Your Summer Fly Fishing Che fly C at ch a cu tth roa t on a dr y of our Ta ke you r kid fis hin g on one d fa mil y tri ps or in our pri va te pon

Ri ve r Dr ift bo at flo at th e M ad iso n in a St alk a mo ns te r br ow n tro ut se cr et cr ee k Pe rfe ct you r do ub le- ha ul

Big Sky Weekly

To commemorate the festivities, the brewery plans to unveil two new beers during its anniversary week. The Fifth Anniversary Ale will be available beginning Oct. 8, and the Fresh Hop Pale Ale will be released at the party, which will be upstairs above the tap house. The tap house is expanding this winter and will host events and music in that space when construction is complete. The wall that currently divides the space in half will be knocked out by the day of the party. “It’s a finished space,” Steve said. “It just won’t be my vision yet, which will take a little time.” They will move tables upstairs for the weekend’s festivities, he added.

The Nordahls moved to Big Sky in 2003 because it had the biggest ski resort in the country without a brewery. Steve’s family is from Montana, and both his parents graduated from MSU. He has been a commercial brewer for 21 years and started the Frederick Brewery in 1991, in Frederick, Md. He says the biggest challenge to the business in the last five years was circumventing the brewery laws in Montana. As of 2009, Montana law differentiates brewery sample rooms from a tap house. Sample rooms can provide customers with no more than 48 ounces of beer during a business day. “We had to split the business in half to have a brewery and tap house, and that made it possible for us to still be here,” Steve said. “It would have been pretty lean with just a sample room and having to close at 8 every night.” The brewery will also be hosting an invitation-only party on Sunday, Oct. 14, for all the vendors, bartenders and restaurant owners that have served Lone Peak beer, “thanking them for the five years of support,” Steve said. John Floridis, a session musician from Missoula on a quest to play every brewery in Montana will perform at both events. Attendees at the Oct. 13 event will receive raffle tickets at the door and an additional ticket with every pint purchased. Prizes include gift cards, pint glasses and a growler that comes with a free fill once a week for a year.

Roller Girlz and Fresh Meat at Wild Joe’s BOZEMAN - Are you a fan of quad skates and war paint? Growing up, were you a roller queen, a rollerblading fanatic or an adrenaline junkie? Did you come see the Gallatin Roller Girlz bout it out at the fairgrounds this summer and think, "I could do that!"? Then roller derby might be the best sport for you. The Gallatin Roller Girlz are hosting a “Fresh Meat and Greet” evening at Wild Joe’s Coffeehouse in Bozeman on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. League skaters will be on hand to answer questions and explain how to get involved. A downtown pub skate will follow the event.

The team is currently searching for women and men 18 and older interested in skating and non-skating positions. Through the “Fresh Meat” (i.e. new skater) program, Gallatin Roller Girlz will train women to skate – no prior experience is necessary. The team has several sets of 'try before you buy' gear for potential members to use before investing in equipment. Men can skate with the league as referees. More information on the Fresh Meat and Greet, and on roller derby in the Gallatin Valley, visit or find GallatinRollerGirlz on Facebook.

Avalanche Center fundraiser is Oct. 26 Since ’84. Fine Purveyors of Fly Fishing Awesome-ness.

GEAR. GUIDES. HONEST INFO. Serving Big Sky, Yellowstone Park, and Southwest Montana • 406-995-2290 Pat Straub; Montana licensed outfitter #7878

BOZEMAN – The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center holds its largest annual fundraiser, the Powderblast, every year in October. This year, the 14th annual event will be Oct. 26 at the Emerson Cultural Center in Bozeman. The family-friendly shindig will be host catering by the Bountiful Table, and music from the Americana-bluegrass band Holler N’ Pine, and beer and wine from Lone Peak Brewery. Silent auction items already in the

lineup year include an airbag avalanche pack from Mystery Ranch, a Bridger Bowl season pass, day tickets from Big Sky, a day of aerial videography with Elevated Productions, hut trips, avalanche beacons, skis, restaurant gift certificates, and name brand apparel from Arc’teryx, Patagonia and Outdoor Research. Visit for more information or to buy tickets.

EVENTS Saturday, oct. 6 Bozeman Greater Gallatin Watershed Tour Rocking TJ Ranch, 9 a.m. 2012 Bridger Raptor Fest Bridger Bowl, 10 a.m. Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake The Bowl, 4 p.m. Beer, Brats, and Brewery Follies Rocking TJ Ranch, 6 p.m. Hush Hush Festival with Mimosa Gallatin County Fairgrounds Events Park, 6 p.m. Taylor 2 DANCE Ellen Theater, 7:30 p.m. Muzik Lives Here DJ Dance party Filling Station, 9 p.m. livingston & paradise valley 10 Foot Tall & 80 Proof Chico Hot Springs Saloon, 9 p.m..

Sunday, oct. 7 big sky Blessing of the Animals Service Big Sky Chapel, 9:30 a.m. Bozeman 2012 Bridger Raptor Fest Bridger Bowl, 10 a.m. The Bad Plus Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture, 6:15 p.m.

Planning an event? Let us know! Email and we’ll spread the word.

thursday, oct. 11

Monday, oct. 8 Bozeman Alejandro Ziegler Quartet Reynolds Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m.

tuesday, oct. 9 Bozeman The Bartender’s Tale Book Signing The Country Bookshelf, 12-1:30 p.m.

wednesday, oct. 10 Big Sky Gallatin Canyon Women’s Club Sue Lindley’s Home, 1 p.m. Bozeman Art Machines Children’s Museum of Bozeman, 2 p.m. Candidate Forum Gallatin Gateway Community Center, 7-9 p.m. Uke Group Wild Joes Coffeehouse, 8 p.m.

wednesday, oct. 17



College Prep Workshops Bozeman Public Library, 7 p.m.

The Goddamn Gallows Filling Station, 9 p.m.

Tapas and Trivia Baxter Hotel Ballroom, 6 p.m.

Safety Not Guaranteed Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture, 7:30 p.m. livingston & Paradise Valley Kurt Prond Pine Creek lodge & Café, 7 p.m.

friday, oct. 12 Bozeman Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake The Bowl, 4 p.m. See Superheroes of Stoke Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture, 6 p.m. Father of the Bride of Frankenstein Equinox Theatre, 8 p.m. The Boxcutters and Black Mountain Filling Station, 9 p.m. livingston & Paradise Valley

Whitebark Forests Lecture REI, 6:30 p.m.

monday, oct. 15 Bozeman

Gallatin Roller Girlz Fresh Meat & Greet Wild Joes Coffeehouse, 5:30-7 p.m.

Albert Gallatin Discussion Bozeman Public Library. 10:15 a.m. MSU Volleyball vs. Montana Grizzlies Shroyer Gym, 7 p.m.

tuesday, oct. 16 bozeman

livingston & Paradise Valley Jack Galdstone, Stroysmith and Troubador from the Blackfeet Nation Livingston Park High School, 7 p.m.

thursday, oct. 18

The United States of ALEC Bozeman Public Library, 11:45 a.m.

bozeman Mike D/Mike G “Dig It” Pine Creek Lodge & Café, 7 p.m.

Peter Fletcher Bozeman Public Library, 7 p.m.

Huckle and the Deadlocks Filling Station, 8 p.m.

Fall Choral Concert University Chorus Chorale MSU Reynolds Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m.

west yellowstone

Lydia Loveless and Tom Cook Filling Station, 9 p.m.

Rusted Root Wild West Pizzeria & Saloon, 7:30 p.m.

St. Mary’s Bash Medieval Masquerade Livingston Civic Center, 6 p.m. Denny and the Resonators Pine Creek Lodge & Café, 7 p.m. Beb Corbett Livingston Bar and Grill, 7 p.m. Sweeny Todd Shane Lalani Center for the Arts, 8 p.m.

saturday, oct. 13 Lone Peak Brewery’s 5th Anniversary Party Lone Peak Tap House, 5 p.m. Bozeman

Andrew Jr. Boy Jones Chico Hot Springs Saloon, 8 p.m.

sunday, oct. 14


big sky Textures – a concert of sonic & multimedia art Reynolds Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m . livingston & Paradise Valley

Big Sky Weekly

Energy: The Psychology of the Psyche and the World Bozeman Public Library, 1 p.m. MSU vs. Eastern Washington Bobcat Stadium, 1:30 p.m. Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake The Bowl, 4 p.m. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Equinox Theatre. 2 p.m.





Now open for summer season 9am-7pm daily • Full menu of luxurious spa treatments • Relaxing sanctuary and steam rooms • Outdoor heated pool and waterfall hot tub • Complimentary family pool pass the day of your spa treatments

MSU Volleyball vs. Sacramento State Shroyer Gym, 7 p.m. Father of the Bride of Frankenstein Equinox Theatre, 8 p.m. Hillbilly Sextet and Damsel in the Dollhouse Filling Station, 9 p.m. livingston & Paradise Valley The Fossils Pine Creek Lodge & Café, 7 p.m. Almost Anniversary Ringling 5 Wilsall Dance Hall, Livingston, 7 p.m.

livingston & paradise valley

Sweeny Todd Shane Lalani Center for the Arts, 8 p.m.

Holbrook Harvest Dinner and Silent Auction Livingston, 4:30 p.m.

Honkey Tonk Heroes Chico Hot Springs Saloon, 9 p.m.

(406) 995-7700

Oct. 5-18, 2012 27

Big Sky Weekly

BIG SKY ’S FULL SERVICE GROCERY STORE Hand- cut meats • Fresh baked goods • Gourmet items • Beer & wine

LOCAL F R E SH Delivery available - have your rental unit stocked upon your arrival! 406-995-4636 Open 7 days a week, 6:30am to 8pm Extended hours 6:30am to 10pm December 15-April 15 and July 1- Labor Day

Located in the Meadow Village Center next to Lone Peak Brewery


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RIVER RUN SITE 28 Oct. 5-18, 2012


Big Sky Weekly

Buscrat's Fables Redemption Cave Back in the early 1860s I was hiking in Montana and seen a middle-aged feller in his 50s standing on a tree stump. He had one end o’ the rope around his neck, getting' ready to jump off. “Hey there, friend!” I said. “Whatcha doin’ in these here parts?” The melancholy feller stopped what he was doing and told me about his troubles. “I have nowhere to go,” he said. “I’m wanted in several states by the law and other people who intend to hang me. But now, without my friends and family, I might as well save them all the trouble.” “Name’s Buscrat,” I said, “and you are…?” “Everybody calls me ‘Crooked Linc’. Name’s Lincoln. I wish I could go back and start my life all over.” “Why dontcha git offa that rope and take a walk with me?” I said. Linc told me about the terrible life he’d led, and we walked fer a good mile ‘til we came to a cave.

“So, how’d ya git started with this notorious life ya been leadin’, Linc?” “I don’t know,” he said. “I was a good person once, but somehow one thing led to the next, and now I’m hated by my friends and family and wanted by the law.” When we got to the cave I told him to foller me as we walked the deep tunnel. On one side of the cave we seen groups of people going about their business. We was able to see right through ‘em, like they was ghosts. In modern terms, you might call ‘em a hologram, but back in the 1800s we called ‘em ghosts. It was like riding one of them Haunted Mansion rides at Disneyland. People were going about their business talking, laughing and fighting in different scenes as we walked deeper into the cave. We saw Linc in every scene, interacting with folks. It was like seeing a movie of his life doing all of the rotten things he’d done. It became perty understandable why everyone called him Crooked Linc.

Eventually we came to one last scene. In it, Linc was in his 20s working in a general store, in the early 1840s. “I remember this,” Linc said. “After I helped that woman with her purchase I noticed I had accidentally shortchanged her a few pennies. She never noticed. I thought about how I had made a few extra cents with no effort.” (That was equal to a few dollars today.)

in your 20s again, you’ll have the memory of the terrible life you’d led fer 30-odd years as an adult. That will remind you of the choices you made that led to misery. Not everybody has that chance. “You decide which path to choose,” I said. “The first step you take in either will lead you to the last step of that path. You already know where the last step leads to the left. So be sure to choose the right path.”

“Then another customer came in,” Linc recalled. “I shortchanged him too, this time on purpose. He didn’t notice. Before ya know it I was shortchanging customers or shorting the amount of flour or oats I put in their bag for what I actually charged them.

He looked at the holograms of his past life as far as he could see down the left tunnel, which was dingy and dark. Then he looked down the right tunnel. He couldn’t see any holograms, but it was bright and cheery. He chose the right path, and off he went.

“I couldn’t help it. It was so easy, I did it to everyone. Just a little bit of shortchanging, and none of ‘em noticed. But after a while Mr. Jenkins noticed and talked to some neighbors about it. They started watching me, and before ya know it they was onto me. I got accused of being crooked. That’s how I got my nickname.

I found my way back out of the cave and returned to the 1860s. Curious what happened to Linc, I traveled to the eastern states to look him up.

“People stopped coming to store. I got desperate and started borrowing money from the bank and other folks. But I figgered they knew my reputation so I never bothered paying ‘em back. What’s the use? Everybody knew I was crooked. After a while I didn’t care what anybody thought anymore. Eventually I had to leave town. I stold old man Jenkins’ horses and wagon and left the state.” Then Linc told me stories that led to him being wanted by the law in many states and despised by his own family and friends. “I remember now,” Linc said. “It all started right here in this general store when I noticed that I shortchanged that woman.” We both turned around in that cave, and we saw the deep tunnel from where we came and also another tunnel going to the right. “You can go back out that way, from the direction we came in,” I said, “or you can choose that path to the right. You gots a chance to re-live yer life from this point forward. You’ll have an advantage too, cuz even though you’ll be a young man

I found he was living in a big white house. I went up to the door, knocked and the butler opened it. “I’m looking fer Crooked Linc ….er, ah… Linc,” I said. I recovered from my slip of the tongue by jesting, “I used to call him that when we was boys cuz he was tall and lanky and bent over crooked sometimes. I ain’t seen him fer many years.” “We call him ‘Honest Abe’ here,” the man said. “Innerstin’,” I said. “How come?” “It started when he was working at a general store and accidentally shortchanged a woman,” the butler said. “He closed the store and walked several miles to give her back the pennies he shortchanged her. There’s lots of stories about Abe who was always honest in everything he did.” He led me to the living room, where Abe greeted me with a warm handshake. We talked and laughed fer hours that day. Then he said, “I’m glad I had another chance and decided to choose the right.” Buscrat's fables are simple stories that teach a moral. Buscrat welcomes you to visit and post your comments regarding the fable.

Oct. 5-18, 2012 29

wanderer at rest

Big Sky Weekly

Flames and pink Gatorade By Jamie balke

The first full day in the field, my squad spent the majority of our time perched atop a beautiful hill, taking weather readings, and wondering if the wind would bring about the anticipated fire behavior. It did not.

big sky weekly columnist

With the West ablaze this summer and fall, and firefighters working to keep us safe, it’s reminded me of my own brief foray into wildland firefighting. It was the summer of 2007, and having recently graduated from college, I’d gotten a job working an entrance station at Grand Teton National Park. At the start of the summer, my supervisor sent me to a weeklong wildland fire school in Bondurant, Wyo. Everybody was late for the first day of class on account of a group of cowboys herding cattle down the main road. After learning the basics that week and passing the necessary physical tests and examinations upon my return to the park, I was issued a Red Card. In a fit of panic, I purchased the most expensive boots I could find, reasoning if I found myself running from a blazing inferno, I didn’t want my feet to hurt. Over-the-top custom boots take a while to arrive, and before they did, I received my first request to join a fire crew. I explained to the gentleman on the phone that having not yet received my boots, I would have to wait for the next callout. Shortly thereafter, I received a call from a fire supervisor out of the park, asking for my boot size. We didn’t know each other, but upon learning my feet were within a couple of sizes of hers, she wondered if I might want to break into her house that evening while she was away and borrow her too-small shoes. I declined her generous offer.

Photo courtesy of

Several weeks later, after the arrival of my boots, I received my second callout while hiking in Yellowstone. With all reasonable haste, I got myself home to prepare for departure the next morning. My crew met at the fire cache to receive our gear. In my spastic excitement, I admitted to being an EMT, and in short order was designated a medic and issued a firstaid kit. We loaded into the vehicles and learned we would be headed to an assignment in Idaho. The fire had made a dramatic run the previous week, and with another wind event predicted, more crews were being called in as a precaution. Fire camp is an interesting experience, which could easily be the subject of an entire column. Perhaps my fondest memory involved my predominately male squad making relentless fun of me for stocking our truck with the purplish-pink Gatorade, and when it was their turn to retrieve our beverages for the day, making sure to pick up a few for me.

During the first week we worked on protecting structures and digging line. When it became clear that fewer resources would be needed, the fire was downgraded. We stayed to work on projects such as rehabbing fire line, felling dangerous burned trees near roads, and mopping up. The closest I personally got to fire was during the mop up procedure, when one of my co-workers identified a tiny smoldering ember. Because it was my first assignment, they made a big show of letting me “put out the fire.” These things start to seem funny when you have had very little sleep. Although my assignment didn’t turn out to be the wildly adventurous experience I anticipated/feared it would be, I was glad to have the opportunity to participate. I barely scratched the surface of wildland firefighting, but was profoundly impressed by the professionalism, skill and knowledge of the more experienced members of my crew. When I could barely see the Bridger Mountains through the smoke from Bozeman in September, I thought of them. Jamie Balke moved to Bozeman in the fall of 2009. She can generally be found behind the cover of a book, meandering down a trail or desperately trying not to kill houseplants.

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Noun: wild or rough terrain adjacent to a developed area Origin: shortened form of “back 40 acres”

Big Sky Weekly

For the Big Sky Weekly, the Back 40 is a resource: a place where we can delve into subjects and ask experts to share their knowledge. Topics include regional history, profiles of local artists and musicians, snow and avalanche education, how-to pieces for traditional or outdoor skills, and science.

ASC finds possible evidence of grizzlies in Tobacco Roots Military veterans log clues, time outdoors By david tucker

Sierra Club Mission Outdoors

“I never thought picking up s*** could be this fun,” Tim Williams said, laughing as he wrapped a scat sample in a plastic baggy and recorded the date, our location, and elevation on a small white envelope. Williams is a seven-year veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004, but on this weekend in September he was a grizzly bear biologist conducting field research in southwest Montana’s Tobacco Root Mountains. With support from the Sierra Club’s Military Families and Veterans Initiative, Williams and I, along with 14 other outdoor enthusiasts, half of whom were service mem-

bers, spent the weekend of Sept. 21 collecting what may be the first evidence of grizzlies in the Tobacco Roots for the first time since the 1930s. The study was being conducted by Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, and according to Gregg Treinish, Executive Director and Founder of ASC, our work will “make a tremendous difference in the viability of [ASC’s] data and greatly help the forest service in managing for grizzly bears.” To mask my own reservations about camping in bear country (I’m from New York City where there are definitely no grizzlies), I chatted with the other team members. After dinner at camp, we waited for the

Local guide Eric leads citizen scientists in search of grizzly evidence.

moon to set behind the mountains in anticipation of Treinish’s stargazing lesson. Morning brought with it a sound familiar to Montanans in the fall, but one wholly foreign to a city kid: elk bugling. After making certain I was safe from bodily harm, I roused myself from my tent and joined the chow line. Our guides introduced us to basic data collection, and after a brief GPS tutorial, we were off, our large group broken into three smaller teams with different agendas with one common goal: finding evidence of grizzlies. My team was made up of our local guide Eric, an ASC staff member, and a couple from New Hampshire who recently moved to the Bozeman area. As a representative from the Sierra Club’s Mission Outdoors program, I was inspired to see our initiative in action and our support for programs like ASC developing positive partnerships. That afternoon we found what appeared to be signs of grizzly bears along the trail. Back at camp, the day’s shared experience provided ample debate. Was the furry tail one team found from a snowshoe hare? What killed that bird, then plucked its feathers so delicately? Had we really found evidence of grizzly bears?

32 Oct. 5-18, 2012

None of us had all the answers, but we possessed new enthusiasm for details previously unnoticed. The forest contained a story we hadn’t been able to read, and now we

couldn’t put the book down. It’s precisely this enthusiasm and wonder that drives our work at the Sierra Club. Our goal is to ensure that all Americans are accessing the outdoors. We believe connecting with nature is fundamental to a healthy life and is an American right – especially for those who’ve sacrificed so much to protect it. By supporting programs such as ASC, we hope to encourage more people like Tim Williams to get involved. We hope that by taking some extra time on the trail to notice a critter’s home or the remnants of its meal, our connection to wild places and their inhabitants will strengthen, and so will our resolve to protect them. Editor’s note: Data collected during this trip will be DNA tested in October, and the results will become public knowledge in early 2013. Evidence of grizzlies in the Tobacco Roots is not yet proven. “While we’re hopeful that this turns out to be grizzly DNA, only a lab can confirm that,” Treinish said. David Tucker is the Programming and Operations Coordinator for Mission Outdoors at the Sierra Club. He is from New York City, but spends as much time as possible in the Bozeman area. He now lives in San Francisco. For more information about the Sierra Club’s Mission Outdoors and the Military Families and Veterans Initiative, visit


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