A win for bears, a win for us; rerouting of proposed PNT

In light of the recent article “Defending the Yaak,” by Tristan Scott, I would like to say that rerouting the Pacific Northwest Trail out of core grizzly bear recovery zones in Yaak would be a win for both the bears and us.

For such a fragile population of bears – maybe three to five breeding females, 25 bears total – any increased pressure is not good. This is particularly true because grizzly bears are one of the slowest reproducing mammals on the planet – females don’t typically reproduce until about six years old and have an average litter of two cubs every three to four years. Any real deficit to the Yaak grizzlies, especially breeding females, could plummet the population or wipe it out. The reroute would grant those few remaining bears the chance to exist.

The positive for hikers is that the reroute would skirt along the Wild and Scenic Kootenai River. It has 10 high-point summits instead of six, and it passes through the supply towns of Libby and Troy. The reroute also has fewer miles on paved road.

A win for the bears. A win for us.

Dating back to 1980, Dr. Charles Jonkel supported a southerly route that avoided key grizzly bear recovery zones in Yaak. Even this past year, Dr. Lance Craighead and Wayne P. McRory compiled a substantial report that also supported a reroute.

To change the route requires an act of Congress, but it’s possible. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines in a commendable, bipartisan effort, recently pushed the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act through Congress. We know that our Montana delegation can work together to protect this wild country.

Please reach out to your officials today and let them know that rerouting the Pacific Northwest Trail would be a win for all.

Matt Holloway,
Columbia Falls, Mont.

Methamphetamine use and knowing signs of abuse

As most already know, the opiate epidemic has been worsening, each year claiming more lives than the last. What is less known by the general public is the problem with Methamphetamines has been growing over the last several years as well.

In the most recent data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it was found an estimated 964,000 people age 12 or older had a methamphetamine use disorder. This large number of Methamphetamine use can lead to some very serious problems in communities; higher crime rates, destroyed families, and the many risks to public health.

Methamphetamines are made by combining chemicals that can be explosive in bad cases as well as causing long term property damage from toxic chemicals.

Houses where a meth lab was in operation can retain chemicals which are hazardous to those who live in the house afterwards. In fact, even use of the drug within an apartment, home, or trailer can cause negative health effects long after the user or producer has moved on.

More and more communities each year deal with this problem and it is an expensive thing to repair, with decontamination costing thousands of dollars to inhabitants and landlords both. These problems are far from victimless with acute health effects that include lack of coordination, chest pains, and burns to skin, eyes, nose, and mouth. Possible chronic long-lasting problems may include respiratory irritability, neurological damage, and liver and kidney damage.

In these times it is important that families are aware of both the signs of methamphetamine use and abuse. In addition, community members need to be on the lookout for signs their house was used prior for methamphetamine production or use. To learn more about Methamphetamine effected houses visit https://www.safewise.com/blog/tell-buying-meth-house/

For more information on signs of methamphetamine abuse, visit our website at www.narcononnewliferetreat.org/drug-abuse-information/signs-of-methamphetamine-abuse.html


Luke Nichols, Denham Springs, LA

The Montanian believes in the free discussion of ideas as a necessary element of a free society. We are pleased to provide this open forum and encourage our readers to submit their thoughts and opinions to us. We prefer letters that are fewer than 300 words and take as their starting point an article or other item appearing in The Montanian. Letters must include the writer’s full name — anonymous letters and letters written under pseudonyms will not be considered. For verification purposes, they must also include the writer’s home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers. Personal contact information will not be published, just the author’s name and city of residence. Publication is at the sole discretion of The Montanian. Letters deemed by the editor to be slanderous, malicious, or in poor taste will not be published. All submissions are considered property of The Montanian. Submit your letter to the editor by email to news@montanian.com or mail to 317 California Avenue, Libby, MT  59923. Views and opinions printed in the The Montanian are not based on our staffs beliefs, opinions, or bias.