By EBS Staff

Montana journalist fired over article


On the heels of an article about public access on the Ruby River, author Don Thomas has been relieved of his position at Ducks Unlimited, where he worked for the organization as a magazine columnist and field editor for 15 years.

The article, called “A Rift Runs Through It,” first appeared in the fall 2015 edition of Outside Bozeman. According to Thomas, he was fired “due to [billionaire James Cox] Kennedy’s displeasure with the article.” Kennedy is a financial supporter and former DU board member.

“As an outdoorsman and conservationist who supports the North American Model and the Public Trust Doctrine, I find DU’s action reprehensible,” Thomas wrote in a letter after his termination. He pointed out that DU is a sportsman’s organization, and his article – which appeared in a Montana publication with no ties to DU – was in support of sportsmen and their right to access the Ruby River, in accordance with Montana’s Stream Access Law.

In 2003, Kennedy blocked off a historic access point running through his land, and the resulting legal battle wound up in the Montana Supreme Court this year. The court did not find in Kennedy’s favor.

Nordic season kicks off at Lone Mountain Ranch


BIG SKY – On Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m. the Big Sky Discovery Academy will introduce Bernadette Nelson to the Big Sky Nordic community at Lone Mountain Ranch.

Nelson is a six-time junior Olympian with 17 medals; former assistant coach of the Montana State Nordic team; and is currently head coach of Bridger Ski Foundation’s postgrad and elite teams.
Nelson will share stories of transitioning from touring to racing as a youth and what winning and losing has taught her. She will also describe how she’s applied her training experiences to life.

Denise Wade will follow Nelson’s talk with a presentation on Big Sky Ski Education Foundation’s Nordic ski team and club, as well as information on Lone Mountain Ranch’s ski trails, lodging, dining, and ski lessons and rentals.

Bus service to expand routes

The Big Sky Transportation District is expanding its Skyline bus service this winter season, which runs from Nov. 23 to April 17, 2016. Two late-night routes will be added to the Canyon-Mountain service, with buses returning from Big Sky Resort’s Mountain Village Center at 12:15 and 2:15 a.m.

An additional route will serve the Link Express between Bozeman and Big Sky. Leaving Wal-Mart in Bozeman at 9:05 p.m., the service will reach the Mountain Village Center at 10:55 p.m. then leave the resort at 2:15 a.m. This bus will serve Bozeman upon request, arriving at Wal-Mart at 4:05 a.m.

A March 2015 Skyline survey found that 76 percent of Link Express users were Gallatin Valley residents and 60 percent of riders were commuting to work. The route has experienced a 22 percent user increase since July 1, according to David Kack, coordinator of BSTD. Gallatin County does not provide funding for the service.

Big Sky resort tax funds approximately 30 percent of the Skyline budget, Kack said, while federal transportation funds, area resorts and nonprofits, and Madison County provide the balance.