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A call for action – Legacy Ranch

 

As bad as the impacts to the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge will be if Legacy Ranch is approved, the implications for the rest of this incredible Bitterroot Valley could be equally severe.

The new residents at LR will use the Refuge as their personal playground; along with their dogs and cats. While that’s definitely a smart and profitable marketing strategy for Sunnyside Orchards, LLC, the hit on the plants and animals on the Refuge could be devastating.

You can bet your bottom dollar that other developers are standing on the sidelines waiting for this tragedy to play out. We will likely see a “re-do” of the same developments from 2007; like Aspen Springs and Flat Iron, other, new proposals may be all designed and ready to go. There may be others proposed next to the Refuge that would just accelerate the carnage. We are definitely in a defensive mode. These people have the money and power to run right over us.

Let’s face it, this valley is a hot commodity for realtors and developers. There are very few like the Bitterroot left in the U.S., because people living in them failed to put up an adequate defense. A small handful of people in this valley have been fighting this battle for your way of life for many years, with many successes. It’s time for you to saddle up!

I know many people living back east who constantly complain about living in a sea of human beings. It wasn’t always like that for them. They used to have our way of life, but gave it up for financial gain. Most of them totally regret that decision.

Rest assured, this is not about opposing all development. This is about slowing down what could be a runaway building boom that would leave our heads spinning. In just a few decades, it could be all over! As they say: “from Sula to Missoula” – a sea of people, cars and houses! Where are you going to move then?

Just like in 2006-07, we could be dealing with five or six (or more) large proposals, simultaneously. These developers are pros. They’ve been doing this for a long time. They have the capacity to “build-out” half of this valley in just a few years. They’ve been making plans for our homeland for a long, long time!

I don’t know what your definition of “progress” is, but for me, it’s definitely not living in a suburb of Missoula! If Legacy Ranch is approved, real estate development in the Bitterroot will be like going from 10 mph to Warp 5!

I find it personally offensive that Territorial Landworks would come into this valley and drop a large, high-density housing development right on the boundary of one our most precious and protected pieces of land, and then expect to have it approved in just a few, short months. It’s almost like they’re daring us to put up a fight.

I utterly reject the arcane philosophy that development is inevitable. It’s only inevitable if we allow it to be so. Let’s draw the line with Legacy Ranch!

Our state’s and nation’s environmental laws were enacted to help average citizens participate in decisions that have historically had major, detrimental impacts on our living environment. Unfortunately, these same laws have had the “people power” stripped out of them, to a large degree. There are currently a number of efforts underway to change the course of this Legacy Ranch disaster. If these efforts fail, the only thing standing in the way will probably be you!

If you’ve ever considered getting in the middle of this, it’s a good time. Get involved. Express your feelings in the newspapers, as many others have. Leave comments for the County Commission at 375-6500, or at commissioners@rc.mt.gov. They’re about to make a decision on Legacy Ranch in just a few weeks!

Bitterrooters for Planning has placed the entire record about Legacy Ranch on their website: www.bitterrooters4planning.com. Go there!

Call or email the developer at 721-0142/admin@territoriallandworks.com. Politely ask them to move on! Help pack the meetings, starting on June 3rd. Let’s do this!

Chris Linkenhoker

Corvallis

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