Editors note: the following is a press release from Montanans Opposing Big Sky Country National Heritage Area.
For Immediate Release:
Contact: December 2, 2020 Rae Grulkowski
Montanans Opposing Big Sky Country National Heritage Area
Montanans Says NO to BSCNHA!
Great Falls, Cascade County, MT – On December 2, 2020, the thirteenth organization submitted their resolution of non-support for the federal designation of Montana land, by Big Sky Country National Heritage Area, (BSCNHA) Inc. More are expected as county residents become aware of the proposed NHA designation of their private property.
BSCNHA, Inc. is a private corporation initially formed in 2015 as the Upper Missouri River Heritage Area Planning Corporation. The purpose of the self-appointed, fourteen member board is to achieve federal designation of a substantial amount of private land within a boundary area desired by this board.
This current proposal engulfs all of Cascade county and a portion of Chouteau county. However, since the ultimate decision of the boundary is made by Congress, it could change again as it has twice since 2015. The proposal is made under the guise of boosting tourism and enhancing economic development. But the community is not buying it as evidenced by the list of city, county, state and federal organizations formally opposing the designation.
Date of Action and Organization
September 9, 2020 Chouteau County and Hill-Liberty-Blaine County Farm Bureaus
September 27, 2020 Cascade County Farm Bureau
October 6, 2020 Chouteau County Trailblazers
October 7, 2020 City of Belt, Montana
October 15, 2020 Town of Cascade, Montana
October 19, 2020 Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF, USA)
October 2020 Hilltop Hutterite Colony, Stockett, Montana
October 27, 2020 Great Falls Association of Realtors
October 28, 2020 Eden, Montana Community Hall
November 10, 2020 Montana Farm Bureau Federation
November 19, 2020 Montana Stockgrowers Association
November 24, 2020 Foothills Livestock Association, Great Falls, Montana
December 2, 2020 Montana Grain Growers Association
Additionally, over 3,000 signatures on petitions opposing the designation and an undetermined number of letters of opposition have been written to elected officials and National Park Service representatives.
Jane Weber, the chairperson of the BSCNHA is also Cascade County, District 3 Commissioner. Contrary to her constituents’ desires, she is spearheading BSCNHA’s pursuit of this federal designation. If the feasibility study is a true determination of the community’s desire to work together toward a federal designation, why does the resident voice continue to be ignored? The real question is: Why is this designation so important to this board?