LETTER: Swan Crest 100 Run is Appropriate Use of Trail

By Beacon Staff

Keith Hammer and the Swan View Coalition have lost their perspective. I’ve been a dedicated conservationist for 50 years. I know Keith Hammer and respect his work. But this time he has gone way too far.

Fifty runners spread out jogging and walking over 100 miles of trail for 36 hours has far less impact (do the math) on Grizzly bears and the environment than Keith’s weekly hikes throughout the year with the Swan Rangers group. For Keith to suggest that allowing this run sets a bad precedent that will lead to motorized use is a ridiculous stretch, far more exaggerated than thinking his hiking group might lead to (shudder) people jogging quietly along the same trail once a year.

Keith admits “the issue is less about the race itself as it is making sure the Forest Service follows proper permitting procedures.” Keith, where is your common sense? The permitting process is designed to prevent extreme activities that are obviously a threat to the flora and fauna. To make an issue of about 50 people running along a trail serves only to turn otherwise supportive people into people like me who now question the Swan View Coalition’s sanity and credibility.

This run is a huge plus for environmental protection. We don’t save sensitive areas by locking out all reasonable use. The Swan Crest Run brings positive nationwide attention, along with significant donations to the Montana Conservation Corps for much needed trail work.

I’ve run 34 marathons and two ultras, including the LeGriz 50 miler, the Baldy Peaks 50 K and Choteau’s Grizzly Marathon, and in every case runners were instructed to “leave no trace” and “surrender trail to wildlife.” As a group, the many thousands of long-distance runners in the world both appreciate wilderness and take seriously the responsibility to preserve and protect the areas in which we run.

Drop this one Keith – you’re damaging your cause.

Gil Jordan

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