By Eric Ladd EBS Publisher

On behalf of the Explore Big Sky and Outlaw Partners staff, I would like to wish you all a happy holiday. For those visiting southwest Montana, welcome and enjoy, I hope you have a memorable vacation with incredible hospitality.

For local readers, thank you for your continued support in helping grow this publication into one of the state’s largest newspapers, and only the one in the Big Sky community. We are honored to be the voice for this region.

Our world is facing challenging times, including destruction of the global landscape, terrorism and homegrown violence dominating the headlines. As we wade though these troubling waters let’s remember we can all affect change by leading with our actions.

Imagine a planet where we treat each other with kindness, and respect Mother Nature as if our lives depended on it – in fact, they do. Small actions can breed big results.

This year was a turning point for our region as we witnessed record-setting growth and development. Farm fields and mountain valleys are quickly turning into subdivisions.

Big Sky is slated for billions of dollars in new development with the building of hundreds of new residences, as well as hundreds of thousands of square feet of new hotels and commercial centers. And Bozeman is now one of the fastest growing communities in the country.

With this development will come new jobs, and many will prosper from the accelerated growth. But with growth comes a responsibility to protect the very resources that drew us all to this region, which I firmly believe will be one of the most significant stories in the next year.

2016 will be a year when voices for conservation, responsible and sustainable growth, and protection of resources like clean air and water must be heard. Big Sky is an unincorporated town, and without dedicated governance, development occurs faster and with less regulation – this poses both an opportunity and a challenge.

Issues such as affordable housing, traffic, road safety, schools, infrastructure development, land conservation and preservation of animal habitat are becoming powerful conversation pieces for 2016. At EBS we are committed to thoughtful and responsible reporting while giving a voice to not only the people who live here but also the natural world we share this area with.

EBS is a newspaper that prints thoughtful stories every 14 days, is distributed throughout southwest Montana, and is mailed to dedicated readers around the country. Explorebigsky.com is the online platform for our media portfolio, providing news, events and stories posted daily.

Nearly 1 million people will read EBS and explorebigsky.com in 2016, and we take the responsibility of reporting seriously. To our advertisers, thank you for your support. We remain committed to growing this publication next year, making your advertising dollars as effective as possible.

Enjoy the holiday season and remember kindness is contagious – let’s spread it wide.