MWA dumps Wilderness

Wilderness has its detractors and its defenders. Mark and I have both had, let’s call it disappointing, experienced with the Montana Wilderness Association. That’s all over now, water under the bridge. The Montana Wilderness Association do longer exists, it’s been renamed: “Wild Montana.”

It’s a relief in many ways to see this unveiling of the true nature of this NGO (non-governmental organization). Most of the founding members have passed on. The new membership and leadership is made of folks who cherish wilderness in a post-card kind of way; something resembling a still image on the side of a refrigerator. Concrete, static, “beautiful,” but loved for its groomed trails and conversational value at the wine and cheese gatherings in urban settings — part of an identity, but quite separate and apart from the domesticated, sophisticated, plastic-fantastic day-to-day lives of most “Wild Montana” subscribers.

Ironically, as MWA sheds its “wilderness skin,” Subaru is embracing its new, rugged, re-branded image. Meet the “Wilderness” in the comfort of a 2022 model all-wheel vehicle.

Montana Wild, like it’s former self ( MWA) is a wing of the Montana Democratic Party and a hiking club, nothing more. Even its commitment to hiking takes a backseat to trail commerce. There’s money to be made with all the new machines ripping up and down forest trails lately. Government subsidies are beginning to flood into the mechanized trail-use industry’s playground. Sorry hikers, it’s all about “new markets.”

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Some shameless self-promotion

Last December I received an invitation from Travis Mateer (aka Will Skink) to have a podcast conversation, which I readily accepted. We ended up talking for 90 minutes, and as a result I have a long list of things I have to look into. Travis and I don’t agree on everything (“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much” – Walter Lippman), and I have pledged to keep an open mind on the things that we do not see eye-to-eye on.

I started the Piece of Mind blog in 2006 when I lived in Bozeman, Montana. At that time, the Montana blogosphere was very active, even somewhat influential. The Montana Democratic Party had moved into blogging forcefully with two apparatchiks, Jay Stevens and Matt Singer, who formed a blog called Left in the West. Their task, their raison d’etre in my view, was Jon Tester, who would be narrowly elected US Senator in 2006. Tester sold himself as an environmentalist and progressive, and then as quickly ditched both groups after attaining office. This led to a dip in his support, so that when he ran for reelection in 2012, he eked in due to dark money injected into his campaign. It was a very professional scam on the Montana Libertarian Party, using an industry front group called Montana Hunters and Anglers to run $2 million plus in advertising urging voters to support Dan Cox, Libertarian. Cox ended up with 6.6% of the vote, mostly drawn off Tester’s Republican opponent, Dennis Rehberg. This allowed Tester a victory with 48.6% of the vote.

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