There’s No Place Like Home – on the Smith River

Montana resident Deb Davidson explains how she fell in love with the Smith River, one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2015.

Deb Davidson

Guest post by Deb Davidson, a resident of Bozeman, Montana. Deb escapes with her family to their cabin on the Smith River as often as possible.

Deb Davidson
Learning to fish in our river

Twenty years ago, my parents bought a remote section of land perched above the Smith River, roughly 10 miles downstream from the Camp Baker put-in. The property is one of the highest points around, and from its towering limestone cliffs you can see the winding Smith River canyon, forests of old-growth ponderosa pine, and a variety of raptors soaring gracefully on hidden thermals.

The property did not have any buildings, so we decided to build a log cabin to serve as a family gathering place – and since my family likes to do things themselves and work hard, we built it ourselves.

For more summers than I can count, we met up at “the land” to live out of a wall tent and build this cabin. We hand dug foundation holes, peeled lodgepole pine logs, placed the logs, my husband built a timber frame, and we put a roof on. After many years of work we now have a beautiful cabin.

Deb Davidson
Enjoying the river

During those two weeks of work each summer we didn’t take much time off to play. But when we did, our reward was the mile-long hike down to the Smith River to fish, swim, and just relax.

Our place is not far from the Rock Creek campsite, so we would use that as a place to hang out, play, and catch some big trout in the deep hole along the cliff wall.

Rewarding ourselves on the Smith was a perfect way to relax and share friendship and love. ‬

‬As we face a massive proposed copper mine at the headwaters of the Smith River, I encourage our decision makers to think about the importance of the Smith to Montanans like me, and have the courage to protect this special place.

I hope that we can look back on this period and say that our reward for denying the proposed mine is a cool, clean, free-flowing river that our families will be able to hike down to, float, swim, and fish for generations to come. ‬‬‬

What you can do

Today, you can take action to help save the Smith River in Montana! Please urge Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock to protect this special place by directing his state agencies not to issue any permits for mining unless it can be developed in a manner that eliminates any possibility of degrading the river’s water quality and wild trout fishery.

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