Once again the USDA-Forest Service is asking our opinions after they’ve already made up their own. The “scoping” meeting last week at the Hungry Horse Ranger District was another example of the mill around and talk with employees about concerns with their proposed recreation plan for the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir.
I call this the “divide and conquer” method of scoping since nobody hears anyone else’s questions or concerns, and they act shocked when they hear something different from what they’ve heard in internal meetings.
Unlike the recent Montana Department of Transportation meeting in Columbia Falls regarding paving the North Fork Road, this one had a sign in but no comment sheets to write your suggestions or anyone writing down questions you may want answered.
Do you think it is a good idea to spend $2.4 million taxpaying dollars for the changes they propose? How about closing the boat ramp at Abbot Bay Boat Launch in the summer, which is the safest bay in high winds?
Is it a good idea to pay for two water pumps at Murray Bay for $10,000 each, or should we be expected to share the water and actually walk to the pump?
The proposal to funnel boaters to FK&L around the corner from Emery Bay boat launch is questionable, as is the safety of many boaters using the smaller space with metal banding and sunken logs.
You have until Aug. 19 to let your thoughts be known on these proposals. The institutional memory of local families will go far in letting them know what is best for the majority of recreational users on the reservoir. Call the Hungry Horse District at 387-3800 or stop by with a written comment so it will be recorded.
Without our involvement the USDA-Forest Service will once again come up with grandiose ideas and little practical knowledge of the area. I, for one, miss the old time employees who actually used the land and knew what people were talking about at the meetings.
Many of us have enjoyed summers on the reservoir with family and friends. Let’s hope we have many more fun days dispersed into different areas so we’re not all in the same mile of water.
Rep. Dee Brown
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