President’s Message May 2019

Published on 05/06/19

Jim Vashro
May, 2019

work projects

“The world is run by those that show up.” Flathead Wildlife’s day to day business is run by 4 officers and a Board of Directors. They manage a budget, formulate FWI comments on outdoor issues, and organize meetings, work projects and fun events. It is important work to keep Flathead Wildlife, Inc. relevant and to protect our natural resources. You can help in several ways.

First of all, join and/or renew your membership. Second, recruit friends and relatives to join. Having more members means Flathead Wildlife can educate more people and have more influence on decision makers. Third, volunteer for projects. There are a lot of projects that agencies aren’t doing or where agencies need help. Projects are an investment in our, and our children’s, future. Projects can be a lot of fun and they make the Flathead a better place to live. Last of all, consider stepping up as an officer or on the Board of Directors. That requires one 2-hour meeting on the last Wednesday of the month and possibly reading some materials. It’s a small investment in our outdoor heritage. We currently have several vacancies; Jim Cross, Scott Johnson and Doug Bolender have decided to step back after years on the Board. I thank them for their years of service, and I know they will continue to show up as needed. So FWI needs candidates for secretary, treasurer and at least one Board member, we will have elections at the annual meeting and BBQ on May 8 at Lone Pine State Park starting at 6 PM. Please consider stepping up. Don’t worry, there’s a good Board and officers still in place, we can do on-the-job training. ☺ You will be more involved in resource decision making and shaping our outdoor heritage. It means investing a few extra hours each month to read materials and attend a meeting. Without you, agencies will make their own decisions and you may not always like the outcome. And I thank the remaining Board members and officers for their continued dedication.

The picture above is a good example. Landowners blocked a county road leading to 65 acres of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (your) land on McGregor Lake in 2001. FWI originally joined in a lawsuit with Flathead County and FWP in 2009 against the landowners, resulting in a court ruling to reopen the road. When the landowners didn’t comply, Flathead County plowed one lane open but did nothing more. It was up to FWI to bring suit in 2017 to restore the road. Last July FWI signed a settlement agreement that fully reopened public access. In the interim, FWI joined FWP in clearing the right-of-way of encroaching trees. That’s your FWI Board of Directors in the picture at work on your behalf. It was a fun and satisfying day.

Sportsmen’s and service clubs are seeing a decline in membership in general. Facebook and social media seem to be where it’s at. Let me tell you, you can post a picture and a comment, but Facebook won’t be organized enough to bring pressure on government agencies, file a lawsuit, clear a right-of-way or do habitat enhancement. The Flathead Wildlife Board organizes meetings, comments and work projects. It’s a small investment in your outdoor heritage and your children’s heritage. Otherwise, the next time you drive up your favorite road, you may run into a gate. Or find your favorite season has been cancelled or drastically changed. The keynote speaker at our annual meeting on May 8 will be the always entertaining Jim Posewitz who will talk about the role of citizen groups in managing our natural resources. Come join the fun. And join the Board.

The preceding comments are mine alone and don’t necessarily reflect the policies of Flathead Wildlife, Inc.