Letter

New Montana Forcing Out the Old

The basic problem is people moving here to build their private new dream homes on unspoiled land destroys the very thing they were looking for

By Chris Zarcone

Over the years, Hollywood and other have made movies in and about Montana for entertainment. They depict Montana as this “untamed frontier” set in beautiful unspoiled landscapes and vast open areas. What they don’t show is the booming housing developments, apartment buildings, trailer parks or towns full of franchises, traffic and commercial buildings. Real estate companies show pictures of homes in beautiful areas but position the cameras away from the neighbors that may be closer than the pictures portray. They do this to sell the dream of “their own privacy slice of heaven.” Many people who don’t know, think of Montana as backwoods, rural, farm, or ranch filled state. One vacation I took to Florida proved that most people there were surprised we have indoor plumbing and electricity: I then further this image by saying, “yeah and there’s even talk of getting a McDonalds’s!” True there are still many rural places here, but they are getting to be less and less. Developers from everywhere else come in and buy up these great wilderness areas, forcing the animal habitats out to build new homes with one focus: profit! They justify their destruction of an area by saying, “well we are creating jobs.” That is true, but is that what we need? Destroy Montana for money? That’s progress for you! They sell the dream of living off the beaten path and getting back to nature where peace reigns and all their worries of city life fade away. Each time this happens more of this pristine landscape gives way to less animal habitat, more people, traffic, towns, and concrete structures. And there goes the whole reason for moving here. Then what happens? The New Montana forces out the old!

The basic problem is people moving here to build their private new dream homes on unspoiled land destroys the very thing they were looking for – natural setting and wide-open spaces! Who’s to blame them, I want to live here too! In my profession, I work as a handyman. You know the lower end of the construction industry compared to new home builders and developers who make the big bucks building new neighborhoods? Instead, I remodel, repair, and maintain existing homes so they can last longer relieving the need to build new each time someone moves here. I feel I am helping to slow this “progress” and keep Montana wild by doing this. So, I suggest buying an existing home instead of clearing land to build new. One remodel can transform that old house into a modern mansion and you would not have added to the destruction of our most valuable resources, unspoiled land, and wilderness! So, thanks to those who have already bought and existing structure. I hope more of you do, too.

Chris Zarcone
Kalispell

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