Monday, July 19, 2004

Yellowstone sucks anyway

Like, you know man, it is just too far away from Wal mart. Nightline is doing a show about drilling in the Rockies, more specifically about drilling Yellowstone Park. They said that there are already 5600 wells there, and they are going to allow another 10,000.

Right now Gail Norton is saying how they are improving upon the Clinton policies ie. fewer acres, more wildlife, you can barely see or hear the wells... I did have to wipe my brains off the keyboard a couple of times so I am not getting this exactly right, but it does seem like Orwell Carl Rove coached her well.

She said they are even creating more wildlife area (excuse the brain splatter-I do not know why I even bother to subject myself to our consolidated corporate media that lets them say any old lie without challenging the facts).

Yep, Yellowstone Park sucks so the Bush administration wants to "improve" it.

Glacier Park is still alright I think. I can't tell from here. The amount of road construction and development going on here is simply astounding. I kid you not, the road I need to take to work sometimes is in a very different place when I go home than it was when I went to work.

Maybe you wonder why I don't take a different route, there are no other routes. Summer traffic here has always been bothersome, but the mass development is making it even harder to put up with.

I have heard from people from south of Missoula all the way to West Glacier, and it is stressful everywhere. One woman said that she now understands how the Indians must have felt when they got squeezed out of their land.

I can't describe how sad it is to see farm after farm carved up day after day. The strange thing about it is that it seems like more businesses are closing than opening. Simple things that we take for granted. One grocery store used to be open 24/7, now they close up at night. A couple of the gas stations cut their hours before finally just locking the doors altogether. I think that we lost a couple of laundromats, too.

Five years ago you needed to be finished with your clothes by ten p.m. in the summer, earlier in the winter. Now we have thousands of construction workers from all over the country-I don't know where they all stay, but there is no way anyone gets to do a load of laundry later than seven p.m. That makes it really difficult to get by when your washer breaks and you need to work for a living.

Also closed up are at least a couple of churches, I don't know why. This place feels like it is a dying neighborhood. The bulldozers never cease though. Some of my rural friends feel like strangers have moved into their living rooms. The x's have lived in their home for thirty plus years and never felt the need to close their curtains. their newest neighbors built so close that they bought blinds and put up a privacy fence.

I am told that there is more open space here in Montana than anywhere in the lower 48. Seems like everything else got developed. All the same, it has been years and years since I have been able to hike far enough away to find any solitude. Sometimes you think that you found a remote place only to be overrun by hoards of other people who also wanted to get away from it all. If you are lucky enough to find a quiet place, it won't be long before you will start to hear highway noise, or notice that the air is opaque like it is in Glacier Park.

Look, I grew up in Montana. I have spent most of my adult life here working for substandard wages, lacking choices about where to shop (some towns that I lived in only had one little grocery store, some didn't have any.

I wasn't too culturally deprived, I had been to zoos in other states, I knew the only black person and the only Mexican family in the county. Art was either western usually displayed in a cafe or modern rarely ever displayed anywhere. Country music dominated the airways, even on the rock station (that is if you were lucky enough to have one in your area. I remember the radio station going off the air at midnight, earlier on Sundays. High school basketball or football if you were lucky enough to live in a town that could afford one was the mainstream entertainment.

We still don't always get the most recent or very many movie choices. I notice that at least one video rental place has closed shop, so has the roller rink. No fear, there is a bowling alley in Kalispell, in Columbia Falls (It might still be open), and in Whitefish.

Also closed up are at least a couple of churches, I don't know why. This place feels like it is a dying neighborhood. The bulldozers never cease though. Some of my rural friends feel like strangers have moved into their living rooms. The x's have lived in their home for thirty plus years and never felt the need to close their curtains. their newest neighbors built so close that they bought blinds and put up a privacy fence.

They tore the grain elevator down a couple of years ago they tore down the equity plant, our farms are gone. The remaining farmers have to pay more to transport their grain. Big thanks to Denny and Judy for that one.

There was a satellite company here a few years ago, they had quite a few employees and were screaming for more then they suddenly let everyone go because there was no work. Then Stream came to town, good pay, training, sign up bonuses, the works. They aggressively recruited workers until the day they relocated to Canada. They did make full use of the roughly three million dollars they got from the city though.

Semi Tool has gone from boom to lay off more than once too. The big box stores seem to be the only things that really stay. Many times I go to check out a new business only to find they already folded up their tents and moved down the road to another yonder somewhere else.

Funding was cut for our already woefully inadequate bus system and some teachers have been laid off due to lack of money. If folks are getting that this is because of George Bushes policies they aren't talking about it. I try to ease them towards it if I get the chance. Some of the same people who scoffed at the connections a year ago are beginning to believe them now.

Sometimes it seems like Shirley Temple movie where she befriends the tramps except for all the big new homes, many are spec homes or "developments". The transtional housing is always full and the homeless are almost as visible as the Tan Camo uniforms and yellow ribbons, thousands of ugly yellow ribbons everywhere.

I hate those ribbons. Those people should be in with their families, communities. They should be here to witness everything going in the wrong direction really really fast. They should have a last chance to see Yellowstone and Glacier before they are logged and mined and drilled to smithereens.

Maybe, like me they spent their lives in a narrow pit that didn't pay them well or suit their tastes just because they loved where they were. Somehow "progress" has wrecked our neighborhoods, and our communities. Our way of life has been traded away for some not-so- shiny-trinkets, but Bob Gannon still has his ill gotten riches and big home on the lake.

Oh well. Yellowstone sucks anyway, we can't wait wait for one of your friends for your friends to suck the beauty and the wealth out of our national parks. Maybe we could pave their roads and give them a new tax break too
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