Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Western Montana’s Bitterroot Valley in Ravalli County is known for its stunning mountain scenery and its oft-stunning conservatism. Deep-canyoned east-west drainages rising toward the Idaho divide serve as a gateway to the 1,340,587-acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The valley’s politics often serve as a gateway to extremism. Guns? Lordy. Militia? In the works. A hunters’ group, hoping to encourage more dead wolves (the only good kind), offered prize money for photos of wolves killed in districts where hunting quotas hadn’t been met. The county planning board (subdivisions and all that -yawn- stuff) hosted an expert on Agenda 21, a U.N. plan to steal our freedom and our property, destroy the Constitution, use environmentalism to create a one-world government, and relocate most Montanans to urban areas like Seattle. In a recent Bitterroot Memorial Day parade–Memorial Day, mind you–a pickup towed an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library.” You get the picture.
And so it was, driven by curiosity, that a public seminar titled “The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement” caused me to give up half of a recent Saturday and head up the valley. (more…)