Thank you ranchers, farmers and landowners

| October 21, 2020 1:00 AM

I want to thank the ranchers, farmers, and landowners of the Flathead Valley for keeping their properties open, rural, and unchanged. When I see the development and sprawl throughout our communities, I get discouraged to say the least. Seeing open vistas, farmland and connected wooded corridors, I get a sense of relief, feelings of hope and calm. Although a lot of these open spaces that I rely on for my collective well-being are private property, they are still worthy of recognizing, respecting, and protecting.

Our neighbors who own, manage, and live off of these properties need our help and support more than ever as our communities try to deal with the onslaught of people looking for their next home. They are looking at something to gain, not recognizing what we have to lose. We need to take care of each other, first, before offering away our livelihoods to people we don’t know, as hard as it may seem. After all, we are Montanans and we are known to lend a helping hand whenever we can.

I applaud the letters posted recently about respect for our local wildlife as well as the core community centers as we remember them. Why try to fix something if it isn’t broken? A big thank you to our local leaders for listening to our concerns, trying to do right for our community as a whole and the local reporting that keeps us all engaged.

Remember to thank your neighbors, farmers and local ranchers for taking care of the open spaces and creating beautiful views throughout the valley. Support them in any way that you can. To help protect open spaces throughout our valley in perpetuity, think of giving to local organizations such as Flathead Land Trust, whose mission is to protect these places for landowners, wildlife, and citizens alike. Enjoy another beautiful autumn in the Flathead Valley and stay safe.

Brett Svetlik, Whitefish