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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Thursday, August 15
Aspen Grove
August 15, 2002. 11:40 a.m. Aspen Grove Campground, near Lincoln

Aspen Grove has been home for two days, enough time to have several excuses to visit the town of Lincoln. It sits about midway between Great Falls and Missoula on highway 200 and so is a fairly busy route. My Montana highway map doesn’t show its population because the town is not incorporated. Depending on who you ask, somewhere between 500 and two thousand persons call Lincoln home.
For me, it is a challenge to root around to discover the character of towns and other places. The geographic concept “Personality of a Place” holds special interest for me. The Lincoln people are open and friendly, so it is a pleasant and easy task to uncover information.
One person told me that the summertime population is about 600-800, that number declining in wintertime when the “snowbirds” escape to warmer climates. The economy is based on tourism, the East-West highway traffic, and a business that makes beef and other jerky. Two service stations-restaurants-convenience stores do a lively business, and the importance of the town as a central place serving a large area is evidenced by the several grocery stores, restaurants, taverns with casinos, motels, a post office, a library, and a variety of other establishments that make it look larger than it actually is. In wintertime, the motels and outfitters do a brisk business with tourists who visit for snowmobiling. I expected forestry to be a major employer, but the logging contracts are being exercised by out-of-area companies who use their own employees. The Lincoln school is also a major employer. It educates about 200 children in grades K-12.
Lincoln had its start in the 1860s when gold prospectors swarmed the area and the nearby valleys and gulches to look for their fortunes. The mines are closed now, although several years ago a mining company proposed processing the whole mountain across the highway from the Aspen Grove Campground. It was controversial, though, because of the “heap leaching” with cyanide that was expected to be used. Lincoln’s population was split on the issue, and the proposition to outlaw that particular form of gold extraction passed in a state referendum. The economy of the area is none too robust, but residents opted to save their environment rather than to “go for the gold.”
“How much do you need to live?” one man asked. “I don’t have much, but I can walk out my back door and do all the things I want to do. I love the out-of-doors.”
A woman at the laundromat told me that some people are concerned about outside money buying the land. Opinions vary. “I don’t mind if people move in,” she said. “I just mind when they want to make our town like the city they left. I think that destroys what they’re trying to find by moving. Too much change is not good.”
The town got some “bad press” when the national hunt for the unabomber led to a cabin several miles from Lincoln. Some actually wondered if the discovery could be used to attract tourists. “A bad idea,” said one resident, shaking his head. “We don’t need that kind of attention.”
I got a good feeling about the town’s personality. The residents were friendly and helpful. They like their town and their lifestyle. Nice place. Nice folks.

for Thursday, August 15
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Bob Ashley poses with school children at the Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Heritage Exposition 2002
. Robert Ashley is a teacher from Illinois.
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List of All Journal Entries
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Thursday, September 26
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 24
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 21
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 20
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, September 19
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 18
Robert Ashley
Kemmerer
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Tuesday, September 17
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 16
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 15
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 14
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 13
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 11
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 9
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 4
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 3
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 1
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 30
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 29
Robert Ashley
Stoddard Creek (F.S.) campground
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Wednesday, August 28
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 25
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 23
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 22
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 21
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 20
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 17
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 16
Robert Ashley
Meyer Hill
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Thursday, August 15
Robert Ashley
Aspen Grove
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Wednesday, August 14
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 13
Robert Ashley
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Monday, August 12
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 11
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 4
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 3
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 1
Robert Ashley
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