I just came across a New York Post article that ranked Bozeman, Montana, #1 on the list of Best Places to Live in the U.S. Now, some people will be excited about this. I mean, who doesn't want to live in a place that others consider a paradise? Others, however, will be upset that this will just encourage others to move to the area, thus eventually ruining the very things that we now enjoy about living here.

I've made the Bozeman area home for over 3 years, and I must admit, sometimes I wish I could close the gate behind me and keep the Gallatin Valley from continuing to grow. I completely get the frustration that people feel who have lived here their whole lives.

But here's the deal: no matter how we feel about it, it's not going to change the inevitable. People are still going to come here, and probably for the same reasons that most of us are already here now: beautiful scenery, fishing/hunting and skiing just minutes from our house, and clean air.

So, since we can't keep the people from coming, how about we pour our energy into making sure that Bozeman and the Gallain Valley see managed and smart-growth. Let's keep away sprawl and protect as much open land as we can. It will still be a beautiful and happy place to live. And we'll be happier and feel less frustration.

I actually lived in Bend, Oregon, (which is also on the Best Places to Live list) many years ago at the time that Bend was about the size that Bozeman is now. There's no question that the intense growth changed the town, but even with the 100,000 people that currently live there, it's still a beautiful place to live.

Keep in mind, the people who lived in Bozeman in the 1950s changed the town from what it was like in the 1880s. My guess is that the original Bozemanites would have thought that the 1960s version of Bozeman was too big and filled with too many people.

I guess to sum this all up: change, as I said before, is inevitable, so let's don't try and stop something that can't be stopped. Instead, let's roll with the tide and spend our time and energy trying to make Bozeman the best place that it can be.

I'll admit, I don't have answers for the rising real estate prices and property tax increases that will come, but complaining about something that is going to happen whether you want it to or not seems like a waste of energy.

Oh, and a final thought. I certainly don't want to live in the place that the NY Post ranks as the Worst Places to Live in the US, so count me as happy that we're on the Top Places list!