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Letter to the Editor: Noxious weeds in Big Sky

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To the Editor,

It’s hard to look at all the beauty in this area—mountain peaks, abundant tree-covered slopes, lush valleys with the Gallatin River and its tributaries, and not think everything is picture perfect. But unfortunately, underneath lurks a threat of noxious weeds and if left uncontrolled, it will spoil that perfect picture.

Weeds have become increasingly abundant over the past 20 to 30 years. When Big Sky ski area opened, there were very few, if any, weeds. But as the area grew so did the abundance of these invaders.

A group of volunteers witnessed the explosion of the invasive weeds initiated a grassroots effort to address it. What began as a response by a few concerned citizens became the Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance, a local non-profit dedicated to addressing this problem.

The Alliance provides free landowner assistance and facilitates noxious weed management with a wide variety of stakeholders. This year, they teamed up with the Gallatin Conservation District, Gallatin National Forest and Montana Conservation Corps to manage 317 acres of highly used public lands and river access sites in the Gallatin Canyon.

The Alliance can’t do this alone. All Big Sky residents need to step up and take control of their property on an ongoing basis. We all have a stake in the future of Big Sky, and we all play a role in how that turns out. Be a part of protecting what makes this place so beautiful and make sure noxious weeds don’t have a future in Big Sky.

Don McAndrew

Bozeman, Montana

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