Proper guidelines will build unity in our community

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Editor:

I wish to extend sincere appreciation to Park County resident Bryan Wells for seeing the need to gather neighbors from diverse backgrounds to volunteer for conversation groups composed of 10 to 12 citizens. During three sessions and guided by Kate Stewart, a neutral facilitator, each group discusses issues of concern for Park County related to rapid population growth. Information about these groups can be found at www.parkcountyconversations.org. Participants in my group reached consensus on the top five

Participants in my group reached consensus on the top five things we love about Park County: intact ecosystem; working lands (stewards of the land); one of the best places in the world; rural; and freedom. Our group’s top fears about the future were: corporations moving in; wealthy stakeholders driving growth and industry, leading to a Jackson Hole situation; and limited ability for folks to earn a living on their land. Our top hope is that we can find common ground. These gatherings focused on the good of Park County. They were peaceful, and a loving way to show respect and to learn from each other.

Corporations will tell you the reason they value Montana as a location is the low number of guidelines in place here. Resulting industrial growth also leads to housing shortage, another concern of our group. I have lived in beautiful Park County for 30 years and recognize the significant need for guidelines. Not all corporations are a threat but, when guidelines are not in place, just one or two can have sufficient power and money to control and change our way of life. I am pleased to know many Montana counties are protecting against this threat. Commercial and industrial development without guidelines is a threat we dare not consider.

I want to thank our Park County Commissioners for improving the communication notifications and public process throughout this summer. The schedule and draft document are at https://www.parkcounty.org/Government-Departments/Planning/. I highly respect each citizen and look forward to your solutions for the health and vitality of ourselves and our ecosystem. I personally am determined to leave this beautiful earth with a reasonable action plan implemented for the safety for our families and future generations. Proper guidelines will build unity in our community.

Carol Reed

Paradise Valley

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