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Reroute trail

Reroute trail

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Letter to the editor icon2

Letter to the editor icon2

Reroute trail

Has Montana devolved back into the Washington Territory?

History affirms that the Montana Territory was born in 1864, after leaving the Washington and Dakota Territories in 1863. Statehood bloomed in 1889.

Still, here we are in 2020 with individuals and organizations from Washington encouraging a specific trail blazing route through our mountains, valleys, forests, and rivers for an astigmatic vision of a long “through-hiking trail" with a clear disdain of the people, wildlife, and land of our state.

There may not be grizzly bears in Olympic National Park, but there are in the Yaak Valley of northwest Montana, and these grizzlies are a treasure and symbol of wildness worth more than Starbucks coffee, development, or gold sluiced from the creek.

Interstate 90 may connect us, just as the Mullan Road yoked us in 1862, but the existing route of the Pacific Northwest Trail through the Yaak Valley does not.

A transparent, uncomplicated re-route is recommended for the Pacific Northwest Trail, and luckily a proposed re-route already exists. But, it needs Congressional approval, and this is paramount because the Yaak Valley has little to concede in her badge of a wild, free-roaming grizzly bear population.

Please consider and help re-route the Pacific Northwest Trail and let those bears have a chance to represent to the world the wild of Montana.

Matthew Chappell, Choteau

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