Stories Chosen For You
In autumn, that mournful season that stifles the lighthearted sounds of summer and, against the green of Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine, light up the Seeley-Swan Valley like a votive-filled cathedral in Rome.
It’s something to behold as you stand in awe of the magic wand of nature, whose invisible hand has crafted an infrastructure that rapacious men and women want to market and sell to a public hungry for natural experiences touted on Instagram and by Hollywood.
In the Seeley-Swan, at Holland Lake, we’re seeing a docudrama (like that TV show “Yellowstone”) play out with the U.S. Forest Service and Utah-based ski giant POWDR proposing to triple the size of the quaint Holland Lake Lodge – on public land – and turn it into a “soulful” experience for visitors to an area that’s the crown jewel of the largely undeveloped valley.
To stand at Holland Falls is to imagine what this landscape once was: Wild, undeveloped and nestled in between the Swan Mountains and Bob Marshall Wilderness to the east and the craggy peaks of the Mission Mountains to the west. For those in the valley, it’s where the sun crests one mountain range and sets behind another. It includes a wildlife corridor that’s largely untrammeled by humans and allows visitors to drive between Glacier and Yellowstone national parks.
It’s also the land of the Pend d’Oreille, Salish, Kootenai and Blackfeet, who lived here before interlopers swooped in.
But what’s occurring here is emblematic of what’s happening these days to Montana, where hucksters see a raw diamond like Holland Lake and want to cut facets in it to sell to visitors who crave a real natural experience.
Yes, Montana’s being discovered – again. But in this instance the Forest Service’s Flathead representatives stumbled out of the gate in announcing this huge development, which needs a special-use permit to operate on public land. The Forest Service lost the public’s trust because of an obscure and confusing public scoping process and a failure to be transparent when this project was hatched.
After mulling POWDR’s proposal since April, forest officials released project details September 1, quoted the developers, and said they’d accept comments until Sept. 21. Forest officials held a meeting September 8 in Condon, where attendees panned the process.
Thousands of howls of protest from people across the country prompted Forest Supervisor Kurt Steele to extend the comment period to Oct. 7 and schedule a meeting in Seeley Lake on Oct. 4. In a press release, Steele took no responsibility for a “lot of confusion” about his intention to use a “categorical exclusion” (CEs are used for minor projects), condescendingly insinuating, to some, at least, that we don’t understand the arcana of Forest Service bureaucracy.
All that Montanans and Americans, who own the public land, are asking is that the Service be transparent so we know the rules and can comment on substantive issues, such as what a large project and extensive human impact will have on the area’s character, threatened and endangered species, water and air quality, and traffic.
It’s not difficult.
I’ll leave substantive issues to experts, who’ll point out the flaws with this proposal for a lake that doesn’t need a ski developer – an “adventure lifestyle company that inspires every human being with cool experiences in awesome places” – to create a “soulful experience.”
If I want such an experience, I’ll hike to Holland Falls or walk among the grove of giant larch that soar like cathedral spires near Seeley Lake. Those places are free, open to all and shared by us.
This vanishing Montana – it’s worth fighting for.
Bill Lombardi lives in Seeley Lake, Montana.
Daily Montanan is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Daily Montanan maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Darrell Ehrlick for questions: email@example.com. Follow Daily Montanan on Facebook and Twitter.
Following a 103-minute rally speech in Michigan on Saturday evening, Donald Trump turned his attention to politics in Brazil ahead of Sunday's presidential election.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported, "For half a decade, we have drawn comparisons between Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and former president Donald Trump. In many ways, the two right-wing ultranationalists are birds of a feather: They both surged to power on a tide of anti-establishment anger; they counted on the enduring support of evangelical voters and certain business elites; they gained politically by the spread of misinformation on social media; they stymied collective global action on climate change; they raged at the strictures imposed by (and the science behind) pandemic-era lockdowns; they waged a relentless culture war against supposed enemies in media, state institutions and schools."
Bolsonaro is being challenged by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
"Bolsonaro has been casting doubt on the security of Brazil’s electronic voting system for months, claiming without evidence that it is vulnerable to fraud and that Mr. da Silva’s supporters are planning to rig the vote. Mr. Bolsonaro has, in effect, said that the only way he would lose is if the election were stolen from him," The New York Times reported.
Trump urged Brazilians to vote for Bolsonaro on his Truth Social website.
"There is a very big election taking place tomorrow, one of worldwide importance," Trump posted. "A great and highly respected man, Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, is up for re-election, and based on all that he has done, and all that he is doing for the wonderful people of his beloved country, everyone should enthusiastically go out and vote for him."
"Jair Bolsonaro has my Complete and Total Endorsement. He will never let you down!" Trump promised.
Donald Trump briefly sounded like a traditional politician at his Saturday speech in Michigan, that quickly veered into red meat and conspiracy theories as he repeated his rally schtick.
Daily Beast reporter Zachary Petrizzo noted, "no big arena or field for today's Trump rally in Warren, Michigan, instead it's inside a community college gymnasium with a seating capacity of 3,500."
Taking the stage to "God Bless America" by Lee Greenwood, as is his tradition, Trump started with perfunctory remarks on Hurricane Ian after stating his love for Michigan.
"Before we begin, I want to send our profound sympathy and our immense support to everyone back in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas who are struck by this brutal wrath of the hurricane," Trump said. "Not a good hurricane, this was a big one."
"We'll all stay strong together and pull through it. That was a bad, bad couple of days. Six weeks from now the people of Michigan are going to vote to fire your radical left Democrat (sic) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer," Trump said as he veered into brief comments on the GOP slate.
Trump was campaigning for Tudor Dixon for governor, Matt DePerno for attorney general, and Kristina Karamo for secretary of state — all of whom are election deniers.
Trump went on to repeat his lies about the 2020 election, refer to Democrats as "communists," and repeat typical stump speech.
Trump lashed out at the FBI after it executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, referred to Capitol rioters as "political prisoners," and complain about the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"I think they would like to see me in prison," Trump said. "You know why, you know why? Because they are sick, sick people."
And he implored his supporters to vote, but also said, “I don’t believe we’ll ever have a fair election again."
Trump praised Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for continuing to believe the lie the 2020 election was stolen.
"As we talk about and think of the rigged and stolen of 2020 — presidential election, rigged and stolen — I would like to thank a great woman named Ginni Thomas," the former president said. "Do you know Ginni Thomas? Great woman."
Trump said, "she said that she still believes the 2020 election. She didn't wilt under pressure like so many others that are weak people and stupid people, because once they wilt, they end up being a witness for a long time."
And then he introduced election denier Mike Lindell.
Nearly one hour into the speech, Trump teased a 2024 comeback attempt, telling the crowd, "I think you're going to be happy" about his decision.
Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press reported, "There's also been a steady stream of attendees heading for the exits since about the 15-minute mark of this now hour-long and ongoing speech."
Trump attacked his enemies using much of the same language critics and prosecutors have used against him.
"Despite great outside dangers, our greatest threats remain the sick, sinister, and evil people from within our country," Trump said. "From within. You know the people I'm talking about, you see them all the time lie, disinformation, cheat, steal."
As occurred at his Sept. 3 rally in Pennsylvania, Sept. 17 rally in Ohio, and Sept. 23 rally in North Carolina, dark music began playing gymnasium as Trump concluded his remarks. The song has been linked to QAnon.
Trump Warren Rally www.youtube.com