A number of anglers have recently complained to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks of being harassed by motorized boaters on the Clark Fork, as we reported last week. In one instance, two weeks ago, three fishermen were buzzed by a boat and four jet skiers, called "faggots" and otherwise intimidated.
We don't know who these culprits are, but there's a new group of motor-sport enthusiasts who seem to be implicitly encouraging their behavior. It's called Hippie Hater MX, which, according to its website (www.hippiehatermx.com), is "a group of Missoula locals that love free riding dirt bikes and motocross" and "are tired of our local riding areas getting shut down from liberal hippies who know nothing of the sport, thinking we're tearing the land up." The site sells shirts, hats and booty shorts with the Hippie Hater MX logo.
No one from the group has returned our calls.
These are apparently folks who think anyone who doesn't need a motor to get her kicks is a political opponent. But since when are Montana's cyclists, skiiers, tubers and anglers by definition "liberal hippies"? Has our political discourse really shifted that far to the right?
Hippie Hater MX says it promotes "ethical power sport activities." We don't know if the group does any actual policy work or just rides dirt bikes and hawks booty shorts, but its message seems to have at least a tiny bit of traction, to judge from its Facebook page, where someone recently said, "I love what you guys stand for!! And I love ppl who hate hippies!!"
Seriously? In Missoula, that just seems unfortunate.
It's ironic, too, because confrontations between motorized boaters and other river users over the last several years is precisely why FWP might close the Clark Fork and Bitterroot rivers near Missoula to high-speed boats.
You'd think if motorized boaters sought to preserve access, they'd be on their best behavior. Many are—but now they risk being drowned out by a few loudmouths who don't seem to have any greater purpose. At least when the Ramones said they hated hippies, they gave us some great rock 'n' roll.