Op-Ed: Montanans Say NO to BSCNHA!

By Montanans Opposing Big Sky Country National Heritage Area

Dec. 4, 2020

On December 2, 2020, the thirteenth organization submitted their resolution of non-support for the federal designation of Montana land, by Big Sky Country National Heritage Area, (BSCNHA) Inc. More are expected as county residents become aware of the proposed NHA designation of their private property.

BSCNHA, Inc. is a private corporation initially formed in 2015 as the Upper Missouri River Heritage Area Planning Corporation. The purpose of the self-appointed, fourteen member board is to achieve federal designation of a substantial amount of private land within a boundary area desired by this board.

This current proposal engulfs all of Cascade county and a portion of Chouteau county. However, since the ultimate decision of the boundary is made by Congress, it could change again as it has twice since 2015. The proposal is made under the guise of boosting tourism and enhancing economic development. But the community is not buying it as evidenced by the list of city, county, state and federal organizations formally opposing the designation.

Date of Action                  Organization

 September 9, 2020         Chouteau County and Hill-Liberty-Blaine County Farm Bureaus

September 27, 2020       Cascade County Farm Bureau

October 6, 2020               Chouteau County Trailblazers

October 7, 2020               City of Belt, Montana

October 15, 2020             Town of Cascade, Montana

October 19, 2020             Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF, USA)

October 2020                    Hilltop Hutterite Colony, Stockett, Montana

October 27, 2020             Great Falls Association of Realtors

October 28, 2020             Eden, Montana Community Hall

November 10, 2020        Montana Farm Bureau Federation

November 19, 2020        Montana Stockgrowers Association

November 24, 2020        Foothills Livestock Association, Great Falls, Montana

December 2, 2020          Montana Grain Growers AssociMontanans Opposing Big Sky Country National Heritage Area


Additionally, over 3,000 signatures on petitions opposing the designation and an undetermined number of letters of opposition have been written to elected officials and National Park Service representatives. Jane Weber, the chairperson of the BSCNHA is also Cascade County, District 3 Commissioner. Contrary to her constituents’ desires, she is spearheading BSCNHA’s pursuit of this federal designation. If the feasibility study is a true determination of the community’s desire to work together toward a federal designation, why does the resident voice continue to be ignored? The real question is: Why is this designation so important to this board?

Source: Montanans Opposing Big Sky Country National Heritage Area 

Contact: Rae Grulkowski rae@3rivers.net 406.788.3204