Whitefish further down the Trail

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You have to hand it to Whitefish. The community knows how to raise money and build trails — or anything else its citizens see as a need.

Whitefish Legacy Partners, the nonprofit muscle behind the ever-expanding Whitefish Trail, now has secured upwards of a half-million dollars to build the trail system into Haskill Basin, where it will connect Whitefish to the ski resort with 5.5 miles of new trail accessed by two new trailheads. This latest project is, once again, one of those quintessential collaborative efforts for which the resort community is well-known. Four key agencies and programs are pitching in to make this happen: The Land and Water Conservation Fund, Montana Recreation Trails Program, the Flathead National Forest Resource Advisory Council and a match from the Haskill Match Community Challenge.

In case you’ve forgotten, the Whitefish Trail already includes 36 miles of trail and 10 trailheads. Some may have seen the Whitefish Trail as little more than a pipe dream in the early 2000s when planning efforts got underway in earnest. Supporters envisioned a total of 55 miles of trails in the greater Whitefish area, and thanks to an amazing mix of money and easements Whitefish is moving closer to that ultimate goal.

2018 just got interesting

We were probably as surprised as anyone to see Dr. Al Olszewski throw his hat in the ring to challenge Sen. Jon Tester, who is running for his third term in the U.S. Senate in 2018.

Olszewski, a Kalispell physician, is in his first term as state senator and previously served one term in the U.S. House. In announcing his bid Tuesday, he told the Inter Lake he thinks he can make a difference in fighting federal regulations and bringing much-needed perspective to health-care issues.

Frankly, we were wondering who the Republicans would get to run against the popular Tester, who votes with the Democratic caucus in D.C. but retains a small-town aura due to his official campaign status as a “third-generation Big Sandy farmer.” After Greg Gianforte shifted his attention to the special election to replace Ryan Zinke, most speculation has landed on Attorney General Tim Fox, but he hasn’t shown much interest in switching jobs.

Olszewski could be a viable dark-horse candidate, kind of like Conrad Burns, the novice politician who unseated another two-term Democratic senator, John Melcher in 1988. The good doctor may not have much name recognition yet, but with a name like Olszewski, he should get it fairly quickly.

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