Thank you Brett French for your article about the American Prairie Reserve's conference in Lewistown. It is an important issue.
One point that is missing about this event is that APR chose to hold it at exactly the same time as the Montana Winter Fair. This Agricultural Fair has been a Montana tradition for 74 years and has been supported widely by our community and ag producers all over Montana.
To have APR deliberately dishonor that tradition, even after the Winter Fair asked them not to have it at the same time, is part of what erodes any trust I may have regarding the intentions of the APR.
I am willing to hear what APR has to say, but I am not willing to turn my back on my friends and neighbors in the process. APR says they want to be good neighbors. Good neighbors I know would honor a community tradition, not schedule their event at the same time. To put people in a position of having to choose between the APR conference and the Winter Fair event is a disgrace. I am disappointed in the community leaders and businesses who supported the APR conference when they knew it was in direct conflict with the Winter Fair.
If APR holds another conference, and is truly interested in "bringing us together," then I hope that they and the Lewistown community leaders and businesses who support them will look closely at the wedge that the timing of their event put between us.