Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Articles written by Ben Long

Sorted by date  Results 1 - 4 of 4

  • Collaboration Gets Your Farther Than Insults

    BEN LONG, Writers on the Range|Feb 14, 2024

    Is there any habit harder to break than harboring a grudge against an old adversary? Yet burying hatchets is exactly what it might take to conserve our wildlife, in the face of ever-increasing pressures on the places they need to survive. Consider grizzly bears. In 1973, grizzlies were on a steep decline and headed for the list of threatened species. Wolves were almost extirpated from the West. As that story was told, its villains were often the folks in the cowboy hats. It was an old tale that cattle and predators didn’t mix. E...

  • Hiking Public Lands Shouldn't Require a Ladder

    BEN LONG, Writers on the Range|Oct 12, 2022

    Imagine you were part owner of a nice piece of rural land, maybe with a trout stream running through it. But your neighbors won’t let you in. You don’t have to imagine, because access to far too much public land is legally blocked by private property owners, causing headaches throughout the West. If you look at a map of the region, big tracts of land run in a “checkerboard” pattern of mixed public and private land ownership. The West is literally diced up into alternating square-mile sections of federally managed land and private ground,...

  • Bison - Back Where They Belong

    BEN LONG, Writers on the Range|Jun 1, 2022

    Early in the Covid-19 epidemic, I visited the Bison Range on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana. But the bison didn't get the memo about social distancing. A trio of bull bison - each a ton on the hoof - fed on bunchgrass. I watched my son's eyes grow wider as one of the bulls approached our truck, as if it might want to rub off its winter coat on the fender. Not long ago, the Bison Range visitor center would have given my family a history of the place by focusing on...

  • Guest Opinion: Responsible Gun Owners Need to Be Heard

    BEN LONG, Writers on the Range|Dec 15, 2021

    I own a closet full of guns. But nowhere in that closet is ammunition. That is locked up elsewhere, reflecting a rule I was taught in childhood. Guns are powerful, even deadly, tools. If you own one, it’s on you to keep it safe. That is what the parents of a Michigan teenager failed to do, and their son murdered four of his fellow high school students. Not long ago, safety seemed gospel for gun owners and the gun industry alike. But something has changed. Responsibility has been discarded in a twisted form of gun idolatry. That change is d...