Monday, October 02, 2023

Support Glacier Institute effort to buy property

| August 16, 2023 2:00 AM

On July 12, 2022, the citizens of Columbia Falls and the Flathead Valley showed up. You overflowed City Hall and formed a line down the sidewalk. Consequently, the public hearing before the Columbia Falls City-County Planning Board on the proposed River Highlands subdivision scheduled for that evening was postponed for a month and moved to a bigger venue.

On Aug. 9 over 200 people attended the public hearing and spoke out against the zone change, PUD, and preliminary plat. The Planning Board in essence voted to recommend denial of the project. The developer pulled his application, and the proposal never reached the Columbia Falls City Council.

A revised PUD and preliminary plat were submitted by the same developer and went before the Planning Board on Jan. 10, 2023. Once again you showed up and spoke about why you felt the development should not be approved.

In February a proposal for development of 22 acres north of Highway 2 was presented. You showed up at that Planning Board meeting and at the subsequent City Council meeting, and the proposal was denied.

You sat through hours of public hearings and discussion. You wrote letters. You participated in the process despite your misgivings.

You told the Planning Board and City Council why the land east of Columbia Falls is not the place for high density development.

You mentioned high water tables, traffic, wildlife, drilling under the river, the character of the neighborhood.

Well, now it is time to show up in a different way.

The Glacier Institute has announced their intention to purchase 142 acres of land east of the Flathead River and north/northwest of Highway 2 for their Nature Center.

They would use the property for their office headquarters; seasonal staff housing; a learning environment, both indoors and outside; walking trails: an accessible place for the community to experience the wonder of nature, with no price for admission.

The Glacier Institute is a nonprofit committed to strengthening connections to the natural world through outdoor education, and holds courses and camps for youth, adults, and families.

The Glacier Institute is now taking pledges in order to buy this property. T

hey need several large donors to step up and make the purchase possible. But it is time for those of us who spoke out against development to show we are about more than just talk.

We must make a monetary pledge, no matter how small, to show our community land can be used for something other than high density housing.

To learn more about Glacier Institute visit their website at To learn more about this project and to make a pledge call them at (406) 755-1211, or email

I made my pledge. Won’t you make your pledge today to help make a positive impact on our community?

Luci Yeats

Columbia Falls

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