For three years our Ravalli County has been run by a very conservative government. So how are things shaping up? Where are the jobs, based on “conservative, pro-growth” policies that our commissioners promised and proudly espouse ad nauseam? Well, I don’t know, so I’m counting on some–any–commissioner to fill us in.
Speaking of lost jobs and anti-growth policies/governance, seems the commissioners’ rigid ideological policies, that provide for no reasonable exceptions, are putting them in a pickle. Case-in-point: In their famous county “Land Use Policy,” the commissioners vowed to oppose any National Forest road decommissioning if it was opposed by anyone who happened to occasionally use the road, no matter how much damage the decrepit and rarely used road was causing to water quality, fish habitat, or elk security; no matter what other benefits might be linked to a large Forest project, like many, many jobs to local loggers and wood products workers.
Namely: The proposed Three Saddle Vegetation Project, near Stevensville, would commercially log many acres, providing numerous local jobs that are obviously needed. It also removes very flammable, hazardous fuels that will aid in protecting our communities against wildfire. But it also decommissions about 10 miles of forest roads that are in bad shape and aren’t needed, even to the timber management folks. And because of a few measly miles of decommissioned roads, the Ravalli County Off-Road User Association has stopped the project by appealing it. They complained to the commissioners to intervene, and now the commissioners oppose the entire project–stopping jobs and putting our Valley families at risk for wildfire. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water!
Seriously, where are the jobs, commissioners? And why oppose an important vegetation management project that creates good paying jobs and makes us safer? Please explain yourselves. We’re all ears.