Bear as Big as a Bus

The following is a message from Joe Perry, a member of the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front.

Dear Friends of the Front,

My name is Joe Perry and along with my wife Deb we own a dryland wheat farm near Brady.   We love Montana and the last wild places of this great state including the Rocky Mountain Front.  My family has a cabin on the Sun River and for decades we have loaded up the truck and headed to the cabin to hunt, fish, and to enjoy the beauty of the area. Every fall we pack into a hunting camp established by friends and family in 1956.

This winter I was reminded how real and raw the Front actually is when my horse died unexpectedly in the backcountry while on an elk hunting trip and before we knew it a grizzly had moved in to take advantage of this last minute caloric windfall.  I swear that bear was as big as a bus. 

That’s why I like Trapper Badovinac’s recent column (pasted below) that elegantly explains how these wild places nourish our souls.  We will need more reminders like that this coming year as we try to convince Washington, DC to pass our made-in-Montana bill. RMF Bruin

As you know, Senator Max Baucus introduced the Heritage Act last fall and we hope the bill will have a Senate Committee hearing later this spring and move one step closer to passage.  In coming months you’ll receive updates from the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front about the Heritage Act as well as activities and events happening around Montana.  We hope you will stay involved and that the Coalition can count on you for your help. We will need all that we can get this year as we attempt to push the Heritage Act across the finish line.  


Joe L Perry


The following letter ran in the Helena Independent Record on February 8th.

Virtual wilderness?

By Trapper Badovinac,

My grandsons introduced me to Wii. For those fellow dinosaurs, Wii is a home video game that simulates real life activities like snowboarding, but they have various other activities too. One game is called “Fishing Resort” where you can boat and fish for various species without ever leaving your living room.

There’s even one to help you lose the weight you gain by sitting in front of a monitor.

This from the Wii website:

“The Wii Balance Board can read your real-life movements and bring them to life on screen, just like the Wii Remote™ controller. Realistically snowboard down a mountain or walk a tight rope — it’s just one more way to get into the game.”

There are others like Wii out there — Xbox 360 and Playstation. They are all selling millions of units each year and their popularity continues to grow. Five years ago Wii sold 3.2 million units. In 2012 they’ll likely top 100 million units. When you add in their competitor sales, it’s mind numbing.

While these video games have gained in popularity, the obesity rates in America continue to rise, while the number of hunting and fishing licenses continues to decline — in many areas 20 to 30 percent every 10 years. Many Americans are choosing to pretend to experience the great outdoors without ever really exploring the great outdoors.

For much of my lifetime there has been a shoving match between those who want to preserve wild areas and those who wish to use those areas for commercial use. While it can be argued that each side needs a piece of the pie, I fall into the camp that says “If we destroy the most beautiful and pristine areas of our country, how will we explain to future generations that we sold their heirlooms for reasons that will sound very hollow to them?”

The response from some is, “What about the jobs?” It’s a question that pops up like morel mushrooms after a wildfire.

I’m not anti-mining or anti-logging. The truth is I really like many of the products that result from those two industries. So then the question becomes, “Do we eliminate the jobs of those who cater to hunters, anglers, hikers, backcountry trail riders and backpackers in order to create jobs for mining and logging employees?”

It’s darn near a question for King Solomon to decide by threatening to cut a baby in half to determine who really cares about future generations and who doesn’t.

My grandsons grew tired of their virtual snowboarding and fishing. They wanted to experience the real deal. They didn’t mind when their faces got cold or wet, they found an entire new world of smells, sounds and, yes, even that essential wildness — that mystical joy of being immersed in something so large and so powerful that all they could say, in the vernacular of today was, “OMG, this is so cool!”

The Heritage Act stands as a guardian for those wild areas of the Rocky Mountain Front so when kids not yet born outgrow their High Definition computer reality, they have a place to see, smell, feel, and experience what feeds the souls of old guys like me. 

Trapper Badovinac authored two books on fly fishing after guiding for many years in Montana. He’s written various articles on hunting, fishing, outdoor cooking and travel. He lives outside Helena.

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