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MISSOULIAN EDITORIAL

Missoulian editorial: Taste of fall in jam jar

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Lift your jars of huckleberry jam to one of the warmest falls western Montana has ever enjoyed. While that warmth has probably made those jars a lot more expensive, and cost the region’s bears a lot more foraging time among failed berry crops, it certainly has offset the sweaty July and August when all we could do was dream of huckleberry milkshakes. The climate refugees flocking to Montana got a taste of the best of our four seasons (and let’s throw a little shade at those parts of the country that only have “Hot” and “Wet” parts of the year).

And let’s leave a few huckleberries outside the trash enclosure folks in Huson and the Missoula River Lodge built to keep bears out of their garbage. The combination of public, private and commercial effort paid off for all parties. Unraided trash is less work for workers. Unraidable trash means unhabituated bears, which research has shown will learn to stick to their own wild food sources if the temptations of ours are removed. The Missoula Bear Smart Working Group has lots of ideas for fixing other conflict points that will keep people safe and bears alive.

A couple bank vaults full of chokecherries to the trend of excessive spending on scary campaign ads in this election season. Those seeking public office will pledge themselves to promote the general welfare and insure domestic tranquility, not accuse their fellow Americans of being evil Halloween demons. It says a lot about both the person doing the selling and the person buying if the only product on offer is fear.

And so we present a mailbag full of huckleberries to Missoulian letter-writers, who have out-scribbled every other big city in Montana for sheer volume of submissions to the editorial page. It’s not even close. As of this publication, the Missoulian had about 120 letters in the queue. Helena had about 50. Butte and Billings: bupkis. Some may enrage you, others enlighten. All are evidence of an engaged community that believes in public discourse. In fact, the Missoulian has such a backlog of vital missives that we’re setting up a special on-line page to present them all (there won’t be enough room in the print newspaper to give everyone ink). Watch this space for details on where and when your letters advocating, attacking, inquiring and invoking your political subjects will appear.

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