The Perils of Profit

The Swan Valley in western Montana is nestled between the striking peaks of the Mission Mountains Wilderness, which rise up more than 9,000 feet to the west, and the vast, rugged expanse of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, which stretches—for more than a million acres—to the east. The remote valley has a handful of year-round residents, offers endless recreation opportunities and is situated on the southern tip of one of the most ecologically diverse and intact ecosystems in the world. It is also a valley where one landowner, Plum Creek Timber Company, holds the deed to 64 percent of the private land. The company’s plan to sell some of its holdings in the valley at top dollar for real estate development is generating a flood of concern among citizens, lawmakers and activists. It has the potential to change the culture of the Swan Valley and, possibly, all of western Montana. [Read More]