Kristen Sohlberg

I love Montana! I regularly look around at the beauty of our state and remind myself that I GET to live here!

I grew up in Missoula and have lived here for 54 years, almost long enough to be called a native. I have skied at, to name a few, Big Mountain, Big Sky, Bridger Bowl, Discovery, and Snow Bowl. I have hiked in the Bob Marshall, the Bitterroot, Jewel Basin, and the Rattlesnake, again, to name a few. I have camped, I have backpacked, I have biked, and I have swum in lakes and rivers. I love Montana.

When I was an undergrad at UM, I took a course from Dr. Bill Bevis, in which our reading list included A.B.Guthrie’s Big Sky, first published in 1947, and Andrew Garcia’s Tough Trip Through Paradise, written in 1878-79, and several others I can no longer recall 40 years on. I do remember that the theme of the course, woven through these books, ultimately was that progress will ruin the west. It was fascinating to discuss how this subject had permeated the literature for more than a century, and had arrived in the late 20th century as an acronym. NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard.)

The paradox of NIMBY is, I got to come here, but I don’t want you to come because YOU will ruin it. This is what is at the root of the controversy surrounding Holland Lake Lodge. HLL is on federal public land and governed by a complex set of laws that apply to ALL special permit users all over our country.

Every activity I named above took place on publicly owned lands. I am glad that there are rules and regulations that define how MY natural resources can be used, in a way that still allows me to enjoy them. I don’t believe that, since I live near these gems, that I am the only one who can use them. Every year, I entertain friends and relatives who travel to Montana to be awed by our state.

The opposition to the renovation of HLL seems to believe that we locals are the only people who should be able to use this pristine spot and that ANY renovation will be detrimental to the environment.

My understanding is that all U.S. citizens are owners of public land and have a right to enjoy it in appropriate ways. If our fellow citizens knew that Montana was attempting to limit their access through permit denial of much needed restoration, there would be more vocal proponents of the measure.

I regularly see thousands of people enjoying outdoor recreation in MT. Why should HLL be different? I trust the permit process to continue to protect our natural resources.  I believe the owners of HLL are following the permit process, and ensuring the project will support everyone’s goals; to keep our Montana Big Sky exceptional so more people can enjoy it.