“Help support the Whitefish Trail, conservation projects” Whitefish Pilot 5/2/2012

To read Mike Gwiazdon’s letter in the Whitefish Pilot Online, click here.

Help support the Whitefish Trail, conservation projects

Mike Gwiazdon

I’ve been fortunate enough to make a career out of enabling folks to get outside and enjoy this beautiful spot we are lucky enough to call home. After 20 plus years owning and operating the multiple Sportsman Ski Haus stores in Montana and Washington, I’ve seen many ebbs and flows regarding our economy.

As Whitefish residents we are within spitting distance of two huge economic drivers, Glacier National Park and Whitefish Mountain Resort. Our tiny mountain town sees a deluge of visitors in the summer and winter eager to hike our trails, bike our logging roads, ski our mountains and kayak in our lakes. The community of Whitefish is also lucky enough to have a very large, very visible community asset just minutes from downtown.

Over 2,000 acres of public land lies as the backdrop to our community, on the western border of Whitefish Lake. Whitefish Legacy Partners (WLP) and the City of Whitefish are embarking upon a campaign, Whitefish Legacy Lands, to permanently protect and create recreational and conservation areas on these lands which include: Beaver Lakes, Spencer Mountain, Swift and Lazy Creeks and Skyles.

While working with the DNRC, Montana State Parks, USFS and private landowners, WLP and the city expects to protect these places that provide our community with vital wildlife habitat, watersheds, viewsheds and a myriad of recreational opportunity.

In addition to permanently protecting these public places, WLP is dedicated to educating our community and providing opportunities for our children to learn about the natural world around them.

This past week WLP and the Whitefish High School Freshman Academy were out on the Whitefish Trail for a morning of experiential education. The 120+ students and teachers completed spring trail maintenance, learned about forest ecology, and exercised together just minutes from the high school.

More of these educational opportunities will continue throughout the spring and summer, and it’s incredible to consider where these opportunities may take our community.

As a board member of WLP, I ask you to join me in support of the Whitefish Legacy Lands campaign.

WLP is setting a goal to raise $1 million dollars before the end of 2012 to ensure these lands are protected for generations to come, to continue our work on the Whitefish Trail, and to generate more revenue than ever for Montana’s schools and universities.

We need you all to DONATE TODAY. Participate in WLP’s upcoming events this summer, recreate on the Whitefish Trail, and be a community champion as a Friend of the Whitefish Trail for $40 annually. Your gift is an investment in our legacy.

I am proud to be a part of this recreation and conservation legacy with Whitefish Legacy Partners and the City of Whitefish.

— Mike Gwiazdon