Outreach Coordinator, Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition
Karrie Kahle sets a strong example when it comes to grassroots activism. She has been quoted in newspapers ranging from the Billings Gazette to The Guardian, spreading awareness about Lucky Minerals’ proposed mining project in Montana’s Paradise Valley. Lucky Minerals, Inc. proposed two gold mines at the top of Emigrant Gulch, a mountain about an hour north of Yellowstone National Park. While Karrie spoke with us, her voice and words were brimming with sincerity and genuine optimism, which is something we do not always get from speakers. It is hard to find an environmental success story nowadays.
In addition to her career as the special events planner at Chico Hot Springs in Emigrant, Montana, Karrie is the outreach coordinator for the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition. She and others started the environmental group when Lucky Minerals proposed the operation in an area where there are several fresh water sources on both public and private land. Other mining companies have drilled exploratorily, but Lucky proposes to dig deeper than others have, which could potentially disrupt the water table and therefore many recreational activities that would disrupt the booming tourist industry in the Valley.
Karrie’s group had the political support of Ryan Zinke while he was the US Representative of Montana’s at-large district, before he was appointed to his current job as Secretary of the Interior by President Trump. Zinke’s stance is now up in the air, however. In order to stop mining in the valley for time immemorial, Karrie has helped drive bills toward introduction in both the U.S. House and Senate, where in both houses, they are under consideration.
By Isabel McNeill
Photos by Jessie Brandt