EDITORIAL: Plum Creek offer benefits us all

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Plum Creek Timber Co. once again proved it is a good neighbor this week when it announced that 15,000 of its acres northwest of Whitefish are being conserved in a deal with the Trust for Public Land.

Under the agreement, the trust will have an option to purchase 1,920 acres and establish a conservation easement on the remaining 13,414 acres that Plum Creek will continue to own and manage as a working forest.

The conservation easement aims to protect the Whitefish area’s fish and wildlife habitat, provide continued access for outdoor recreation and allow sustainable forest management. It will also help protect Whitefish Lake, from which the city of Whitefish gets a portion of its drinking water.

Those are worthy goals, and the generosity of Plum Creek in helping to accomplish them deserves to be acknowledged.

Building community spirit

Once again the kindness and compassion of Flathead Valley residents is on display as local builders rally to help one of their own.

Builders and other volunteers are coming together Sept. 18-20 to help build a home for Whitefish Chief Building Official Virgil Bench, who is battling small-cell lung cancer.

Bench sold his Whitefish home with plans to build a house near Kila as he gears up for retirement in a few years. He’d anticipated working on it over the next couple of years. But when Tyler Frank of Malmquist Construction learned that Bench is undergoing cancer treatment, he alerted Flathead Building Association members and the response was impressive.

Bench’s family got together this summer to finish a garage where he and his wife now reside until the house is completed.

We’ve said it time and time again, but when it comes to helping our neighbors, there’s no place on earth like the Flathead Valley. We wish Bench a full recovery, and thank those who are helping him in his time of need.

Thank you, Jack Stanford

Here’s an early farewell to Jack Stanford, the longtime steward of Flathead Lake.

Stanford is stepping down after a 35-year career at the Flathead Lake Biological Station.

Although he won’t officially leave his post until next summer, the transition to his successor is underway and Stanford recently gave his final State of the Lake address.

Thanks to his efforts over decades, the state of the big lake still is world-class and efforts to preserve its quality will continue.

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