Saturday, June 03, 2023

Private lands in Glacier should have zoning

Editor | March 22, 2023 2:00 AM

Last week’s story on a home built on the banks of McDonald Creek by John and Stacy Ambler certainly struck a nerve on social media, reaching about 722,000 people as of Monday, according to Fakebook.

I don’t know exactly what that means, but I do know this: There is no way the editor of a small weekly newspaper in Northwest Montana can moderate more than 7,200 comments.

To be honest, I kind of gave up even trying to read them.

I’ve actually gone even more “viral,” in the past. In 2009 I photographed Glacier National Park for 100 straight days and blogged about it in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Glacier as a national park in 2010. (The whole idea was to have the project done by 2010).

This was before Instagram and Tik Tok and Fakebook wasn’t what it is today.

At any rate, back then Boston Globe did a feature called the “Big Picture” and I told them about the project and the editor picked it up and ran about a dozen pics.

I woke up the next morning and my website had something like 1 million hits.

It ended up getting over 7 million hits and something like 1 million or so unique views.

It was both good and bad. Good in the financial sense, because I sold a few of the photos. Bad because it took months to track down the various other websites who stole the photos and put them on their websites.

I suspect there’s still a few floating around the web. You can never catch them all.

As far as the Glacier Park house is concerned, I was admittedly troubled to see it go up. As for the “viralness” of the story, I was simply doing my job and I appreciate the help folks gave me along the way.

This story isn’t finished — there’s a judicial process on the horizon, unless the Amblers cry Uncle, which I don’t see happening.

There’s a lot more activity going on in Apgar — Eddie’s is no longer the Eddie’s of old — it’s a mammoth building now that apparently includes top floor rental units. There’s another home being built next to the Ambler’s as well. When the Amblers were building their home, they put up a big retaining wall made of concrete into the streambank first.

I thought it was going to be parking for the neighbors — obviously I was wrong on that assumption.

The lesson in all of this is Flathead County should put some reasonable zoning in place on inholdings in Glacier National Park, so that projects at least get a proper review.

We’re already converting farmland and timberlands in the valley to housing at a rapid rate. We shouldn’t be having similar development issues in an international treasure like Glacier National Park.

Recent Headlines