What is news in Seeley Lake ?
August 30, 2018
Last week’s article “Petition calls for change” brought up strong emotions for many in the community and created significant discussion. We appreciate all of the dialogue we have had with concerned and even angry members of the community – you help make us better at what we do. However, because of the questions and attacks, we feel we need to offer a little more explanation.
Contrary to several readers’ beliefs, the petition requesting the Lolo National Forest leadership to remove the current Seeley Lake District Ranger is not a small issue in the community nor is it a petition with little support.
We first learned of the petition when it was promoted on several community Facebook pages within days of its appearance in businesses and several comments ensued. The petition has been available in at least eight downtown businesses.
When we started to get calls asking questions to which we didn’t know the answers, we pursued the topic as a Pathfinder article. The author of the petition was willing to go on the record and share his answers to many of the questions we were hearing. In less than two weeks the petition had several hundred signatures.
The two sides, as we saw them, were the person(s) who started the petition and the Lolo National Forest to which the petition was directed. The article was an effort to provide information about who started the petition, what was it about and why it was started. It also gave the Lolo National Forest leadership an opportunity to respond publicly.
After the article was printed, a reader emailed us telling us that it was a shame that we did not include the large response from community members in support of the current Ranger. At the time the article was printed, we did not have knowledge of any organized effort or we would have contacted the organizers to include their side in the article.
While we understand there have been many letters to the Lolo National Forest Supervisor in support of the current Ranger, we were told this was not really an organized effort. Instead it was individuals expressing their own opinions through letters and emails in support of the Ranger and encouraging their friends to do the same. We have now been told that several other agencies, Forest Service partners and local groups have expressed their support of the current Ranger in other ways.
The Pathfinder does not create the news and certainly has no desire to create division in this community. We are tasked with reporting what is happening in the community. What people do with the information, how they read it and respond to it is up to them. We try to remain as unbiased in our coverage as possible and present all sides of which we are aware. However people on those sides must be willing to come forth and go on the record too.
One of the hardest parts of our jobs is providing impartial information on very divisive topics. We hope that by bringing issues to light and sharing information, community discussion will ensue that will result in a positive outcome for us all.