COVID 19 has drawn thousands of new families to Montana over the course of the pandemic for the chance to enjoy the privilege of living in Big Sky Country.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is encouraging all Montana sportsmen and women to welcome the new arrivals and share their knowledge and experience with them, so they’ll become good neighbors.

Dillon Tabish, Education and Program Manager for District 1 in northwest Montana spoke to KGVO news about the influx of new people.

“Griping about new people moving to Montana is not going to help anything,” said Tabish. “A lot of us moved here way back when and we hopefully had folks that welcomed us and helped us understand what it means to live in Montana and some of the things that make living in Montana so amazing, and the best way to continue that tradition of keeping Montana ‘The Last Best Place’ is to try to get our new neighbors trained up are aware of just what that means.”

Tabish said new arrivals need to learn how to understand and treat the land here in Montana.

“When I think of the lifestyle that I cherish in Montana, it's really based around conservation and the special outdoor amenities that we have here,” he said. “That's clean water, clean air, public land, opportunities to view wildlife, amazing opportunities to go hunting, and amazing opportunities to go fishing. You know, to cast in a line out on a blue ribbon trout stream is kind of my idea of heaven, and we have a lot of those types of opportunities here in Montana and we want to keep those intact.”

Tabish spoke of some more principles that make recreating in Montana more fun and safe.

“To me it also goes back to the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles which are really the things I learned as a kid growing up in Montana,” he said. “You know, plan ahead and prepare. Leave what you find, minimizing your impact on the land so you're not leaving garbage out there or trashing a campsite or, you know, just treating the disrespecting the land. You know, nobody likes to get out to one of their favorite spots and find garbage. Respecting wildlife obviously which includes being bear aware and never approaching wildlife.”

Tabish said the good old Golden Rule applies when you’re recreating in Montana; ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.

“That's a great message,” he said. “Being a good neighbor is also part of just being a Montanan, and I think that’s being welcoming even though it can get frustrating to have a traffic jam or more people out on the trail that you like. It's okay. We've all been there at one point, and it doesn't help anything to gripe or be rude to anybody. Being a good Montanan is being a good neighbor, helping folks out and just being patient. That's a great mentality to have.”

KGVO also suggested that with so many new residents in Montana, to invite new neighbors to informal ‘get to know Montana’ meetings at parks and recreation sites, so they can learn first hand how to camp, hike and recreate safely and to be a good neighbor.

Tabish said he will pursue that idea as summer approaches.


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